On Wednesday, a group of US and UK researchers involved in the ATLAS experiment announced they needed volunteers from all over the world to help them examine all 25.000 photos showing super-fast particles moving and dieing inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The LHC is the world’s largest particles smasher and it was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research aka CERN. Its initial goal was to collide particles at super-speeds, make them explode and give birth to sub-particles that may help scientists decode the texture of the universe.
For many years, the LHC teams searched for a particular particle called the Higgs boson, or God’s particle. In 2013, LHC confirmed that such a particle was found, although global community was worried the sub-atomic experiments occurring at the Swiss–French border might create a set of mini black holes that would suck all Earth into them.
We are still here, so that didn’t happen. Two of the most important CERN experiments are the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and the ATLAS experiment. Each experiment uses different methods and designs, but they share the same goals. For instance they both have searched for the Higs boson, and currently they in search of particles that could create dark matter.
Dark matter is an invisible texture that holds the Universe together and it can only be detected from its gravitational effects.
On November 20, CMS team has also made its Open Data Portal (ODP) available to the general public. ODP is a database containing information on real LHC particle collisions. CMS scientists said they made the infos public because they were hoping this would inspire and support more scientists, and even students or amateurs.
This week, ATLAS team of researchers launched another project called Higgs Hunters (they even have a site for it). Higgs Hunters needs on-line volunteers to help CERN researchers examine all the LHC particle collisions caught on camera. There are currently 25.000 photos to be closely examined.
Scientists say that volunteers can help them track the sub-atomic explosions caused by a dieing Higgs particle and the sub-particles emerging during the process. These sub-particles, scientists believe, will help mankind understand better the origins of the Universe.
“If anything discovering what happens when a Higgs boson ‘dies’ could be even more exciting than the original discovery that the Higgs boson exists made at CERN back in 2012. We want volunteers to help us go beyond the Higgs boson ‘barrier’ by examining pictures of these collisions and telling us what they see,”
said Professor Alan Barr lead author of the Higgs Hunters project. So, the hunting season is open and Higgs particle hunters are wanted.