Not Just the Higgs Boson

Tom Feilden over at the BBC:

Physicists at CERN are powering up the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) again, ready for a final push to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson – the final piece of the jigsaw known as the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

So what then? Such a fuss has been made about finally nailing down the Higgs you could be forgiven for thinking that – once the champagne had been quaffed and the Nobel Prizes handed out – we could all pack up and go home.

Not a bit of it. Only two of the four main experimental detectors straddling the 27km ring of the LHC are even looking for the Higgs and both are interested in much, much more.

The mission statement for the Atlas experiment – titled Mapping the Secrets of the Universe – makes no mention of the Higgs, preferring to focus on the forces that have shaped our universe, extra dimensions of space, the unification of fundamental forces and evidence for dark matter candidates.

“We're all very excited about finally sorting out the Higgs hypothesis one way or the other,” says Professor Andy Parker, head of high energy physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and a senior member of the Atlas team.

“But that is just one part of a great process, and we have a huge number of other things we're also looking for. There's no pause in the march of science in this case.”