A high-energy collision observed by the CMS detector. (credit: Thomas McCauley and Tai Sakuma)

The world's biggest particle collider, CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), suffered a disastrous failure during its initial startup. After basic repairs, scientists ran it cautiously for a few years, enough time to gather data to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson.

With that success in the books, the whole assembly was taken apart and upgraded. There is no clear target to search for, so the LHC is being run at its full design energy (13 Tera-electonVolts) in the hope that new physics will pop out. With the end of proton collisions less than a month ago, CERN hosted a series of talks today in which researchers described the first analysis of the data from the new, high-energy run.

The talks reaffirmed that the leading candidate to replace physics' Standard Model, called Supersymmetry, was still not showing up in any of the data. But the two main detectors in the LHC, CMS and ATLAS, both see hints of a signal that could represent a new, heavy particle. The hints aren't very statistically significant and are likely to disappear into the noise as more data is gathered next year. But they'll undoubtedly get theorists very excited in the meantime, as they showed up in a search for theoretical particles predicted by a model developed using the approaches of string theory.

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