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Surprising Science

Has The LHC Created A New Kind Of Matter?

The same machine used to discover the Higgs boson particle may also have produced something that would most likely have last existed around the time of the Big Bang.

What’s the Latest Development?

It looks like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may have produced a type of matter that, if confirmed, has never been seen by human eyes before. Amazingly, it wasn’t even something scientists were particularly looking for: During a routine “reference run” involving collisions of protons and lead ions, they noticed that some pairs of particle debris was flying away in the same direction, which indicated that they were related or connected in some way. This material appeared after a mere four hours’ worth of collisions, which makes the discovery even more surprising.

What’s the Big Idea?

The purpose of the LHC is to recreate conditions in the universe just after the Big Bang by colliding different particles at super-fast speeds and examining the material left over so that scientists can understand “how anything exists at all and why the laws of the universe operate as they do.” It’s possible that this type of matter has been created before in different experiments involving the LHC and its less powerful predecessor, but those results are still in dispute. To confirm these results, the team working on the project will try to replicate them in January over a period of weeks instead of hours.

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