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More Data for LHC
On March 25, 2016, the most powerful collider in the world was switched back on after its annual winter break. The LHC will run around the clock for the next six months and produce roughly 2 quadrillion high-quality proton collisions, six times more than in 2015. The goal is to deliver the maximum number of data to the experiments.
The accelerator complex and experiments have been fine-tuned using low-intensity beams and pilot proton collisions. Now the LHC operators will increase the intensity of the beams so that the machine produces a larger number of collisions.
This is the second year the LHC will run at a collision energy of 13 TeV. During the first phase of Run2 in 2015, operators mastered steering the accelerator at this new higher energy by gradually increasing the intensity of the beams.
The Higgs boson was the last piece of the puzzle for the Standard Model -a theory that offers us the best description of the known fundamental particles and the forces that govern them. However there are several questions that remain unanswered by the Standard Model, such as why nature prefers matter to antimatter, and what dark matter consists of.
The huge amounts of data from the 2016 LHC run will enable physicists to challenge these and many other questions, to probe the Standard Model further and to possibly find clues about the physics that lies beyond it.
The physics run with protons will last six months. The machine will then be set up for four-week run colliding protons with lead ions.
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Black Hole Seeds
Using date from NASA's Great Observatories, astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes.
Researchers combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope to identify these possible black hole seeds. They discuss their findings in a paper that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
These new findings suggest that some of the first black holes formed directly when a cloud of gas collapsed, bypassing any other intermediate phases, such as the formation and subsequent destruction of a massive star.
"There is a lot of controversy over which path these black holes take," said co-author Andrea Ferrara, of SNS. "Our work suggests we are narrowing in on an answer, where the black holes start big and grow at the normal rate, rather than starting small and growing at a very fast rate."
The researchers used computer models of black hole seeds combined with a new method to select candidates for these objects from long-exposure images from Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer.
The team plans to obtain further observations in X-rays and the infrared to check whether these objects have more of the properties expected for black hole seeds. Upcoming observatories, such as NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope will aid in future studies by detecting the light from more distant and smaller black holes. Scientists currently are building the theoretical framework needed to interpret the upcoming data, with the aim of finding the first black holes in the universe.
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