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Sep 7, 2020

Large Hadron Collider Creates Matter From Light

Posted by in categories: information science, nuclear energy, particle physics

Scientists on an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider see massive W particles emerging from collisions with electromagnetic fields. How can this happen?

The Large Hadron Collider plays with Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc², to transform matter into energy and then back into different forms of matter. But on rare occasions, it can skip the first step and collide pure energy—in the form of electromagnetic waves.

Last year, the ATLAS experiment at the LHC observed two photons, particles of light, ricocheting off one another and producing two new photons. This year, they’ve taken that research a step further and discovered photons merging and transforming into something even more interesting: W bosons, particles that carry the weak force, which governs nuclear decay.

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