Secrets of the cosmos 'to reveal hidden worlds'
Physicists probing the origins of the cosmos hope that next year they will turn up the first proofs of the existence of concepts long dear to science-fiction writers, such as hidden worlds and extra dimensions.
As their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN -- the European Organisation for Nuclear Research -- near Geneva moves into high gear, they are talking of the "New Physics" on the horizon that could totally change current views of the universe and how it works.
"Parallel universes, unknown forms of matter, extra dimensions . . . these are not the stuff of cheap science fiction but very concrete physics theories that scientists are trying to confirm with the LHC and other experiments."
This was how the "ideas" men and women in the international research centre's Theory Group, which mulls over what could be out there, put it in CERN's staff-targeted Bulletin this month. Optimism among the hundreds of scientists working at CERN in the foothills of the Jura mountains along the border of France and Switzerland has grown, as the initially troubled $10 billion experiment hit its targets this year.
By mid-October, Director General Rolf Heuer told staff, protons were being collided along the 27km (16.8 mile) subterranean ring at the rate of 5 million a second, two weeks earlier than the target date for that total.