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Top 5 things you need to know about the Large Hadron Collider


Here are five essential facts about CERN’s enormous and intricate Large Hadron Collider as it prepares to operate at previously unheard-of energies.

A 3D cut-out of the Large Haldron Collider’s magnetic dipole. (Image credit: CERN)

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator in the world, has resumed operation since April for its third run following a three-year halt for renovations. Particles are about to collide at previously unheard-of energies in the particle accelerator, nearly ten years after researchers announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson. According to AFP, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced that the LHC will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for nearly four years at a record energy level of close to 13.6 trillion electronvolts.

Protons, which are positively charged particles found in the nuclei of atoms, will be sent in beams that travel within the 27-kilometer ring of the LHC at speeds that are almost as fast as light. As part of a series of studies to investigate dark matter, dark energy, and other enigmas of the cosmos, scientists will observe and analyze the collisions of the particles in the two beams.


These are the top 5 facts you should know about the LHC as it prepares to operate at extremely high energy levels.

The biggest and most intricate machine ever constructed

The LHC was created to investigate minuscule subatomic particles, the tiniest known units of matter and the basis of all existence. The collider, however, is the biggest and most intricate machine ever created by humans.


In partnership with more than 10,000 scientists from hundreds of institutions and institutes, CERN constructed the LHC between 1998 and 2008. The machine is located in a 27-kilometer-long tunnel that is over 100 meters deep.

one billion collisions every second

Since protons move at a speed of 99,999 percent the speed of light, at full power billions of protons will sprint around the LHC accelerator ring more than 11,245 times each second. That meant that when the machine first started up, it could create 600 million collisions every second.


However, to improve the pace of collisions, the proton beams will be shrunk to less than 10 microns, or around the width of ten bacterial cells, said Mike Lamont, head of accelerators and technologies at CERN, in an interview with AFP. The goal of the scientists is to deliver 1.6 billion collisions per second using the thinner beam.

significantly hotter than the sun

More than 100,000 times hotter temperatures than the sun’s core are produced by the collision of the two beams. However, all of that heat will be confined to a very small area. Even though such temperatures are being produced, superfluid helium will be used to maintain the accelerator ring at a comfortable minus 271.3 degrees Celsius.


an enormous amount of data

Over 30 petabytes of LHC experiment data are stored annually at CERN’s DATA Center. To put it in perspective, there is 250 years of HD video or 1.2 million Blu-ray discs worth of data. Over 100 petabytes of this data are permanently saved on tape at the data center.

only the opening chapter


The Higgs Boson and other significant recent scientific findings may have been made possible by the LHC, the largest and most sophisticated machine in the world. The Future Circular Collider, however, is a machine that CERN hopes to build that will dwarf the LHC.

The Future Circular Collider idea, with a 100-kilometer radius, was published by CERN in 2018. The Future Circular Collider will operate at energies up to 100 trillion times higher than the LHC’s 13.6 trillion electronvolt energy level. An even larger device called the Future Circular Collider is intended to guarantee the smooth continuation of particle physics research worldwide in the post-LHC period.


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