British and American experts on Wednesday launched a new project, inviting online volunteers to spot tiny explosions that could be evidence for new particles that will require new models of physics.
Higgs Hunters [www.higgshunters.org], a project launched by scientists working on the ATLAS experiment, enables members of the public to view 25,000 images recorded at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
A University of Oxford release said that by tagging the origins of tracks on these images volunteers could spot tiny sub-atomic explosions caused when a Higgs Boson ‘dies’, which some scientists think could generate a kind of particle new to physics. “If anything discovering what happens when a Higgs Boson ‘dies’ could be even more exciting that the original discovery that the Higgs boson exists,” said Alan Barr of Oxford University, the project’s leader.
“We want volunteers to help us go beyond the Higgs Boson ‘barrier’ by examining pictures of these collisions and telling us what they see.”
In the experiment, protons are smashed together at up to one billion kilometres per hour. Such collisions can generate Higgs Bosons: these are known to rapidly decay into other particles and some scientists believe these could include a new type of previously unobserved particle.
Simulations predict that these new particles should leave tell-tale tracks, which computer programs find difficult to identify, but which human eyes can often pick out.