A beginner’s guide to the Large Hadron Collider, its functions and its future

Source: The post is based on the article “A beginner’s guide to the Large Hadron Collider, its functions and its future” published in The Hindu on 13th April 2023

What is the News?

The Large Hadron Collider(LHC) built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is on the energy frontier of physics research, conducting experiments with highly energized subatomic particles.

What is the Large Hadron Collider(LHC)?

Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider. 

Built by: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008 in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists.

Located at: The accelerator lies in a tunnel 100 meters underground at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

Purpose: To study minuscule subatomic particles which are the smallest known units of matter and the building blocks of all things. 

Working: Its work involves sending beams of protons, which are positively charged particles present in the nucleus of atoms, speeding towards each other at nearly the speed of light in the 27-kilometre ring of the LHC. 

– Scientists will record and analyze the collisions of the particles in the two beams as part of a set of experiments, which will be used to study dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries of the universe.

Achievements: In 2012, scientists at CERN announced to the world the discovery of the Higgs boson or the ‘God Particle’ during the LHC’s first run. This led to Peter Higgs and his collaborator François Englert being awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2013. 

What lies ahead for the Large Hadron Collider(LHC)?

LHC is the biggest and most complex machine in the world and it may have paved the way for some of the most important scientific discoveries in recent times including the Higgs Boson. 

But CERN has plans for a future machine that will be called the Future Circular Collider. Compared to the 13.6 trillion electron volts energy level of LHC, the Future Circular Collider will work at energy levels of up to 100 trillion electron volts. 

The Future Circular Collider is an even bigger machine aimed at ensuring the seamless continuation of the world’s particle physics programme in the post-LHC era.

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