The LHC and what its future holds?

What is it?

The Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is a large circular particle accelerator based in the European particle physics laboratory at CERN. Located near Geneva in Switzerland, CERN is the largest physics laboratory dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of fundamental physics.

The LHC allows scientists to reproduce and observe the immediate instances after the Big Bang. They do this by colliding beams of protons or ions at very high-speeds, close to the speed of light. The word ‘Hadron’ is any particle made up of quarks.

The LHC is the most complex experimental facility ever built and comprises of a large circular tunnel measuring 27km in length. The tunnel is located 175 metres below the surface and when completed in 2009, had an initial starting energy of 3.5 teraelectronvolts.  The total cost of building the LHC was approximately £3.74 billion.

There are four major experiments at the LHC, which use detectors to analyse the array of particles produced during collisions in the accelerator. The main two are called ATLAS and CMS, who’s general purpose is to detect a wide-range of particles and investigate as much experimental physics as possible. ALICE and LHCb are 2 other, more specified experimental detectors. These four detectors are placed around the LHC tunnel underground.

The LHC works by firing particles as beams at each other using superconducting magnets. As particle beams reach the desired speeds they are able to guide the particles, using the magnets, to collide head-on into each other.


The LHC project as a whole is made up of three main parts; the Collider, the Detectors and the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid(WLCG).  The WLCG is a global network of computers used to analyse and compute the data received from the experiments.

What important discoveries has the LHC brought to humanity?

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On 4 July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS experiments announced they had observed a new particle in the mass region of 126 GeV. This new particle was consistent with the Higgs boson that was predicted in the Standard Model. Confirmation of the discovery of the Higgs boson was on the 8th October 2013, when the Nobel prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Francois Englert and Perter Higgs.

The LHCb confirmed the existence of exotic hadrons, which are a type of matter that cannot be classified within the traditional quark model. The Belle Collaboration reported the first evidence of the new particle, labelled as Z(4430) in 2008.

This article was originally published on Flavible.

Saad Bhatty

Blogger, journalist, geologist and Tech-enthusiast. There is always something to write about!

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