THE BLOG
01/06/2015 01:03 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2015

Hard Work in 2014 for LHC to Be Ready in 2015

I enjoy looking at the top ten science or physics stories at the end of every year. This last year, the Rosetta mission landing on a comet made the top of most lists. This was obviously really impressive. There was also the potential discovery of gravitational waves that needs more study, and the Borexino experiment detected neutrinos from the sun.

For our research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, 2014 was a year of hard work. The LHC has been in a planned shutdown since 2013 and the plan is to start giving proton-proton collisions again in mid-2015. Before, with the discovery of the Higgs boson, the energy of the LHC was set to 8 TeV. Now, the magnets for the collider have been improved so that the LHC can give collisions at energies above 13 TeV. Remember, that with more energy, one can create more massive things. So everyone is looking forward to seeing what there is new to see. Theorists have been busy trying to figure out ideas for new things that are consistent with the data we already have. That is their job to try and figure out something different to explain what we see. The standard numerous papers describe interesting ideas that could just be ideas and not representing reality. Many of these get lots of press. Most of the over 80 papers that our CMS collaboration published in 2014 don't get much press.

Despite the popular headlines, the Higgs-like boson that we discovered in 2012 appears more and more to be that predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics and not a techni-Higgs or something else. We found a rare decay of a particle which has a bottom and a strange quark in it. This has helped to rule out some parameter space of a popular theoretical idea of supersymmetry. With the massive, great data taken before 2013, there has been a big effort by the collaboration of over 3000 scientists to make sure that we have looked for and studied as much as possible. No evidence for beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics has been found, but we have closed the window on many theoretical models. In addition, we have been preparing our detector to be ready to take data in the new energy regime. For the tracker detector, there was a lot of work on plumbing. While it is bigger than my house, there are many parallels in maintenance operations. We just closed the detector up in December and are starting to recommission it. We are looking forward to killing more theories, and hopefully finding something entirely different.