Following Higgs discovery, physicists offer vision to unravel mysteries of universe

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Posted on August 9, 2013
Simulated production of a Higgs event in ATLAS. Image credit: CERN.

Simulated production of a Higgs event in ATLAS. Image credit: CERN.

After nine days of intensive discussions, nearly 700 particle physicists from about 100 universities and laboratories concluded nine months of work with a unified framework for unmasking the hidden secrets of matter, energy, space and time during the next two decades.

Physicists have made remarkable advances in understanding the fundamental laws of the universe during the last two years. On July 4, 2012, the world celebrated the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. The discovery, made possible by more than 1,500 U.S. scientists providing talent, technology and leadership, ended a decades-long search for the elusive particle. Physicists working in other facilities made progress in unmasking some of the bizarre behavior of particles called neutrinos.

But despite these successes, puzzling questions about the nature of the universe remain unanswered. For example, the essential properties of neutrinos are still a mystery. And dark matter and dark energy, which together constitute 95 percent of the universe, are today still astonishing enigmas.

Scientists debated those and other questions July 28-Aug. 6 at the University of Minnesota during the 2013 Snowmass Community Summer Study, the capstone in a series of meetings held last year. They wrapped up their work by identifying the most exciting and vital questions facing particle physics and by providing a 20-year outlook for the investigative work needed to address them. The final report of the Summer Study, to be published this fall, will detail the scientific importance of each question and the scientific instruments required to probe them.

Read more at: Phys.org