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posted Jan 29, 2015, 11:43 PM by Ranmini Perera   [ updated Dec 6, 2016, 6:16 PM by Upali Salpadoru ]
Large Hadron Collider
Fig.1. Proton proton collisions.  (Courtsey LHC)

This has been built by CERN  
(in French for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire)    
(presently  “European  Organization for Nuclear Research”.   

Fig.2 A very good example of how the theoretical science bring useful applications to society.
The project had international collaboration involving over 10.000  leading scientists and engineers from 100 countries.They are in collision with the frontier of physical science.
LHC is probably the largest machine ever built.  Hadron is a name given to a group of   particles that includes protons. Two tubes in a tunnel, buried 100m below the Swiss French border in Geneva drives protons  ( p + ) and much heavier lead ions ( Pb ++ ) to 99.9 % that of light.  

A particle can travel 11,000 laps around the circuit of 27 km in one second.
Just to get an idea of the capability it may be mentioned that the collision of lead ions at one of the 4 inter sections could achieve a temperature 1000 times higher than the highest temperature of the sun.

While the tunnel has a circumference of 27 km. the tubes carry beams of particles driven by thousands of huge magnets , majority over 15 m long, powered by superconducting  coils immersed in liquid helium maintaining a temperature just 2 degrees above the absolute zero.
At each collision point there are detectors designed and manned by an institution , looking for clues to solve a particular problem at the frontier of knowledge. The precision required for collision has been compared to an attempt at firing 2 needles 10km away to hit each other. There is a global network assisting them to analyse the data.

They aim at solving some of the fundamental questions faced with regard to the Universe, matter and energy. A few of them are as follows:-

1.    According to particle physicists when matter was formed by the Big bang,, anti-matter too. would have formed. Where has the antimatter gone?
2.    As the space expanded matter dispersed.  Now there are vast voids and galaxies far apart. What would have been the reason for the matter to have clumped together to form stars and planets ?
3.    Finding fundamental particles predicted by theory  but never found in a free state. Eg. Quarks-( constituent particles in a neutron)  Higgs boson- ( an elusive particle responsible for mass).  A particle similar to this has been discovered as announced by CERN,  on 4 July 2012.


The four main experiments scheduled  are as follows:-

Name of experiment

Collaborations & Mode

Aims & Achievements


A Large ion Collider Experiment.  

1000 scientists from 105 physics institutes in 30 countries

To collide Lead ions .

What happened immediately after the Big bang?

To get an exceedingly high temperature to release quarks from the protons.


Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment

760 scientists from 54  institutes, from 14 countries

During the Big bang energy changed  to form equal quantities of matter and antimatter. Matter remains. What happened to anti matter ?




3000 physicists

Looking for  elusive particles,

Eg. Quarks,  Higgs boson .  particles of un known dark matter.

Extra dimensions.

Detected a particle similar to Higgs boson


Compact Muon Solenoid        


Looking for elusive particles.

 Detected the same particle as in ATLAS  using a different technique.