CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, is scheduled to restart this weekend after a two-year hiatus.
MEYRIN, SWITZERLAND (REUTERS) – The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, will restart this weekend, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) confirmed on Thursday (April 2).
Teams of scientists are completing final tests on the LHC after a non-specified problem delayed the restart at the end of March, CERN wrote in a statement.
The LHC, located in a cavern 100 metres below a small Swiss village, consists of a 27-kilometre ring of “superconducting” magnets with accelerating structures that boost particles as they make their way down the tunnel.
Started in 2008, it was responsible for one of CERN’s most important feats — the 2012 discovery of the long-sought Higgs Boson, nicknamed the “God particle” for its ability to give mass to most elementary particles, making it responsible for the creation of stars, planets, and life itself.
“Without the Higgs field, there would be no atoms, there would be no nuclei, there would be no molecules, which are the fundamental building blocks for matter, therefore there would also be no stars, there would be no galaxy, there would be no planetary system, there would be no earth and eventually there would be no life on earth. So it may seem to be something very abstract, but it is actually related to our very existence in a very, very fundamental way,” CERN’s Head of International Relations, Rudiger Voss, told Reuters Television in July 2014.
The particle collider was shut down in 2013 for a two-year period during which its entire ventilation system and over 100 kilometres of cables were replaced. The upgraded LHC will run at an even higher speed than before, and is expected to hit its highest collision energy of 13 TeV (tera electron Volts, a unit of energy, particularly used in atomic and nuclear processes) by June.