Testing the Standard Model
The Large Electron Project (LEP) accelerator near Geneva, more than any other instrument, has rigorously tested the predictions of the Standard Model of elementary particles. LEP measurements have probed the theory from many different directions and, so far, the Standard Model has prevailed. The rigour of these tests has allowed LEP physicists to determine unequivocally the number of fundamental 'generations' of elementary particles. These tests also allowed physicists to ascertain the mass of the top quark in advance of its discovery. Recent increases in the accelerator's energy allow new measurements to be undertaken, measurements that may uncover directly or indirectly the long-sought Higgs particle, believed to impart mass to all other particles.
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