Denmark's Ministry of Higher Education and Science has offered an 11.2 million kroner (£1.3 million) grant to scientists to examine the building blocks of the universe. The money will primarily be utilised to upgrade the ATLAS and ALICE particle detectors at CERN - the world's largest particle physics test facility in Geneva - and many other scientific instruments installed at different institutions across Denmark.
Scientists, so far, successfully understood just five per cent of the substances that make up the visible universe around us. For the past several years, scientists at CERN have been trying to understand the other 95 per cent of the universe's composition by creating a ‘mini Big Bang', which mimics the real Big Bang that occurred billions of years ago.
To create the ‘mini Bang', the scientists feed particles into particle accelerators and allow them to collide with each other. These experiments enable scientists to discover new particles, as well as new principles of physics beyond the 'standard model.'
CERN member nations are funding the general upgrades, which are expected to be complete by 2025. The upgrades to ALICE and ATLAS are expected to be completed by 2021 and 2025 respectively.
The upgrades will also include CERN's flagship 27-km long Large Hadron Collider, enabling scientists to carry out up to 50,000 collisions per second, thereby increasing the chances of finding new particles.
"We will be able to study multiple new phenomena as a result of the increased collision rate and improved detectors. For me, there is no doubt whatsoever that boundaries will shift. Naturally, we also hope that the revolutionary breakthroughs ahead will change our understanding of nature," says professor and project leader Jens Jørgen Gaardhøje of the Niels Bohr Institute.
The 11.2 million kroner grant will also allow the upgrading of several other scientific instruments in Denmark, including ISOLDE at Aarhus University; ABACUS high-performance computer-farm at the University of Southern Denmark; the Danish part of the Nordic GRID computing system; and instruments at the University of Copenhagen.
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