After more than two years of maintenance and repair, as well as several months of re-commissioning, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is finally ready to start smashing some particles again in the name of science.
Planned experiments are going to observe collisions at a mind blowing 13 tera-electronvolts (TeV), almost twice the collision energies of the LHC’s first experiments.
Because of a software problem, the first beams that were to be tested this morning were cancelled. However, experiments are expected to resume later.
How this all works is two particle beams are sent at each other. These beams travelling just below the speed of light. After their collision, these particles collide then fly off in opposite directions through the 16.7 miles of tunnels under the Swiss-French border.
Last year, scientists made the grand discovery of the Higgs boson, the elementary particle that gives things their mass and had played cat and mouse with scientists for nearly 50 years. Now, experiments are set to use twice the amount of power to find more particles.
With the higher energy levels, scientists hope to look into even deeper mysteries of the universe, such as dark matter—a mysterious force that comprises nearly 84% of the universe, but elsude scientists—and extra dimensions.