The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), operating in France and Switzerland, is the world's largest particle accelerator. After some experimental complications that occurred in 2008, the LHC is scheduled to start collecting data sometime later this summer. The LHC is designed to operate at the highest energies ever reached for a man-made accelerator. After many years of planning and construction, many scientists, as expected, are very curious as to what they will find. In no particular order, a few of the more likely possibilities are listed below:
1. Discovery of Higgs boson In particle physics, the general theory underlying all the fundamental particles and their interactions is called the Standard Model. This model has been incredibly successful and has accurately predicted new particles and many of their properties. There is one remaining particle that the Standard Model predicts that remains to be found: the Higgs boson. Many people are hopeful that the LHC will finally detect this particle.
2. Extra dimensionsPhysicists have recently suggested that perhaps there are more than just three spatial dimensions. In this theory, it is possible that some types of particles only exist in these other dimensions and don't really interact with normal types of matter found in our conventional picture of our 3-dimension universe. These dimensions could be inferred at the LHC if it is seen that energy and/or particles that are formed during the collision tend to 'disappear' into these extra dimensions.
3. Something unexpected Often what happens with any new experiment is something unexpected. In the case of LHC, this could mean that new particles are discovered, or perhaps that the Standard Model is an incomplete theory.
4. Nothing It is certainly possible, although not one that most physicists are hoping for, that nothing new is found.