Hard Science

The Large Hadron Collider Restarts

  • After problems that delayed the restart in March, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) completed final tests, enabling the first beams to start circulating Sunday inside the LHC’s 17 mile (27 km) ring.
  • The LHC generates up to 600 million particles per second, with a beam circulating for 10 hours, traveling more than 6 billion miles (more than 10 billion kilometers) — the distance from Earth to Neptune and back again. At near light-speed, a proton in the LHC makes 11,245 circuits per second.
  • The burning questions that remain include the origin of mass and why some particles are very heavy, while others have no mass at all; a unified description of all the fundamental forces such as gravity; and uncovering dark matter and dark energy, since visible matter accounts for only 4 percent of the universe.

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