The possibilities keep expanding for the Large Hadron Collider, the latest being time travel.
Still in its infancy, the LHC continues to try and recreate the elusive Higgs boson, a.k.a. the "God particle" that is believed to explain how protons, neutrons, and electrons have mass, as well as joining in the search for dark matter and their likely neutrino counterparts, also known as ghost particles.
If these two research goals are achieved, it could turn the Large Hadron Collider into a time machine according to a new theory by Vanderbilt's Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho. According to Weiler, their theory "is a long shot, but it doesn't violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints."
Weiler and Ho's theory involves the LHC producing the Higgs boson. When this occurs, it is believed that a second particle is instantaneously created, called the Higgs singlet. These singlets, upon the force of creation, "have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past."
According to Weiler this theory that is heavily based on M-Theory, "a theory of everything," manages to avoid the major paradoxes formulated around time travel, like the famous example of a man who travels back in time and kills one of his parents before being born. Weiler does believe that "if scientists could control the production of the Higgs singlet, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."
Researchers are monitoring the collider in the hopes of observing Higgs singlet particles and their decay products spontaneously appearing. If so, "Weiler and Ho believe that they will have been produced by particles that travel back in time to appear before the collisions that produced them."
M-Theory, and super-string theory is based on the principles that our four-dimensional reality is like a membrane that is stored in a larger "bulk" multi-dimensional space-time, where 10 to even 12 dimensions are all wrapped around the coiled grid, layering and intertwining realities to the infinite complexity. The Higgs singlet is believed to be similar to the neutrino, in that it operates outside of normal matter. The neutrino ghost particles hardly ever react with ordinary matter, and in fact "trillions of neutrinos hit our bodies every second," zipping through without directly effecting us.
Furthermore, due to anomalies in data, an additional hypothetical particle called the sterile neutrino, comes into play. These "sterile neutrons are even less detectable than regular neutrinos because they interact only with gravitational force," and are capable of traveling through these extra dimensions by taking shortcuts that enable them to travel faster than light. If revealed as actually existing, these sterile neutrinos will further solidify the possibilities for the Higgs singlet's ability to travel through these dimensions outside of time-and-space.
Time will tell what more surprises the Large Hadron Collider will reveal, expanding our perception to the unseen world that is always interacting with us.
Image: "The Large Hadron Collider…" by Image Editor on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.