The Large Hadron Collider

By Tighef (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

If you are a science geek then you definitely have heard about Large Hadron collider, even if you are not a science guy, few years ago LHC was all over the media and so I find it hard to believe that you have not heard about it. Still in case if you haven’t heard about it, LHC is the world’s largest and powerful Particle accelerator or particle collider. It was built at the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva in Switzerland. Let me first tell you about a particle accelerator.

What is a Particle Accelerator?

Whenever a charged particle enters in an electromagnetic field it experience some force. This basic phenomenon of physics has realized the particle accelerators as we know them today. A particle accelerator employs the same phenomenon, uses electromagnetic field to impel charged particle to move at much higher speeds and to force them to contain in a well-defined beams. More or less it is like your old CRT television sets or monitors, CRT intakes electrons from cathode, accelerates and change their direction using electromagnetic field and at last smashes them into the screen.

The Large Hadron Collider

As I stated above it is the most powerful and world’s largest particle accelerator designed to uncover some of the mysteries of the Universe. The sole purpose of LHC is to recreate the conditions after the Big Bang, specifically the conditions which were existed within a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. In my previous article I told you about the Big Bang theory and how everything comes into existence around 14 billion years ago. The LHC is intended to prove that theory by replicating those conditions by colliding beams of high energy protons at a speed which is close to the speed of light.

Two of the experiments on LHC had confirmed the existence of Higgs Boson particle which was predicted 50 years ago. Higgs Boson is an elementary particle which explains why some fundamental particles have mass. It is believed that it is Higgs Boson which provide mass to the matter.

LHC as its name suggest is huge, weighing about 38000 tons and situated in a 27Km circular tunnel 175 meters below the Swiss/French border at Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is expected to address some of the greatest mysteries of physics. It contains seven different detectors each designed and developed for certain kinds of research. It was built by the alliance of 10000 scientist and engineers from over 100 countries. LHC went live on 10 September 2008 but due to some technical fault it went into shutdown. After 14 months on November 20, 2009 proton beams were successfully circulated again. It again went into shutdown for upgrades to further increase the energy of protons with reopening planned for 2015.


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