The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a circular tunnel 27 km in circumference buried between the Swiss and French borders in Geneva. The purpose of the tunnel is to speed up protons and heavy ions (some of the smallest things we’ve ever discovered), speed them up with magnets to incredibly high speeds, and crash them in to one another. The scientists at CERN hope that by doing this, the smaller pieces that break off during the collision will provide them with new insights into the smallest building blocks of existence, and perhaps more clues as to the very beginning of our universe.
The Large Hadron Collider is a ring-shaped, 27 kilometer long particle accelerator managed by the European Organization for European Research (abbreviated as CERN) research complex. It’s located approximately 100 meters below ground, near Geneva and the Swiss-French border. The primary use of the LHC is to recreate conditions similar to those found immediately after the Big Bang, by speeding beams of subatomic particles (hadrons) up to nearly the speed of light, then colliding them into one another. This is done in the hopes of discovering more about such fundamental questions of physics as “what is mass?” or “What makes up the other 96% of the universe?” (visible matter accounts for approximately 4 percent of total expected mass).
There are six key experiments currently being run at the LHC, with the two main experiments (ATLAS and CMS) investigating the by products of these high speed collisions.
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