In 2012, many people were astonished by the announcement by the Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland of the discovery of the Higgs boson. The discovery completed physicists’ understanding of that part of the world that can be seen and felt — normal matter. It inspired physicists to study a whole new world, searching for answers to the mysteries of the things in the universe that can’t be seen. "Normal matter, the things that we can see and feel around us, comprises only about 4% of what is actually in the universe. While we know that there is a lot of matter and energy out there we do not really know what it is and how it is related to the known matter," says Prof Bruce Mellado of the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), who is also the national contact physicist of SA at the ATLAS experiment at CERN. ATLAS, one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in particle physics, is exploring the basic building blocks and fundamental forc...

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