News & CommentParticle Physics

Upgraded LEP Bags First W Pairs

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Science  19 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5273, pp. 306
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5273.306


Just 2 days after restarting their main accelerator following a major upgrade, physicists at CERN, Europe's particle physics center near Geneva, witnessed their first creation of pairs of so-called W particles, the charged carriers of the weak nuclear force, which controls some types of radioactivity as well as the nuclear burning of the sun. The upgraded Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider, dubbed LEP2, was designed to produce W pairs, and physicists can now study the particles in detail. At this higher energy, physicists will also be on the lookout for two long-sought-after quarries: the Higgs particle, linked to the mechanism which gives particles mass; and supersymmetry, a unifying principle in many attempts to combine all of nature's forces.