NPR

Boosting The Search For Nature's Building Blocks

CERN has said that the Linac 4 booster for the Large Hadron Collider is ready. The hope is that with higher speed and luminosity, unknown particles may be found, says astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser.
Part of the Linac 4 booster at CERN, as seen on May 9 in Meyrin, near Geneva. The booster will allow the LHC to reach higher luminosity in the next few years. / FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Images

When it comes to particle physics — the branch of physics that tries to find nature's fundamental building blocks of matter — it's all about energy and momentum. Moving (or kinetic) energy, to be precise.

The higher the speeds of the particles, the more violent their collisions.

Why all the violence?

Well, we are trying to "see" things that are millions of times smaller than atomic nuclei. And we can't just keep cutting matter down to find its smallest pieces.

So, it's like if I ask

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