The most powerful particle accelerator in the world recently reached the end of its upgrade time and is being prepared to be started again. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a system which lies in a tunnel of 27 kilometers in circumference, located 175 meters beneath the ground.
Operated by a group called CERN, the LHC is a piece of technology designed to study the interactions between particles when they collide with each other at speeds nearing the speed of light. There is a suspicion that they have found the elusive Higgs Boson, a phenomenon which to date has been always written off as a theory.
Shut down around 2012, the LHC was closed and shut down with the intentions of putting heavy upgrades on the system, increasing the power which its able to shove into the protons which are flung around inside the system. In the past, the system was able to run at a collision energy of 7 to 8 TeV (1 TeV = 1.60217657 x 10-7 joules) which at the time was pretty impressive. The system, however, was designed to operate at above 13 TeV, proving to be a really big difference compared to what it used to run at. Scientists are excited at what possibilities will present themselves with the upgrade in power. Bringing the system back to operational status is proving time-consuming as all of the new parts have to be settled into the operations which they’ll be going through in the future.
Since early 2015, all of the new systems are in place, and the team ready to finally give things another try. The LHC is one of the top places in the world if you’re looking to do research on physics, which draws quite the variety of people into the facilities. While not very well known to the general public, when it comes to science, the Large Hadron Collider is one of the shining beacons drawing people in.