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Large Hadron Collider Finally Restarts After 2-Year Shutdown

Apr 06, 2015 10:46 AM EDT
Large Hadron Collider
Pictured: The CMS detector on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

(Photo : CERN)

After an intermittent short-circuit put a dent in scientists' plans, CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) finally began its powerful restart after a 2-year shutdown, officials said.

With the world's most powerful particle accelerator back in action, scientists hope to open doors to new and unexplored realms of physics, as well as provide extraordinary insights into the wonders of the Universe, such as dark matter, for example.

The LHC, located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is most famous for the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson particle in 2012, which supposedly explains for all the matter in the Universe.

"The Higgs discovery was one of the most important scientific achievements of our time," James Siegrist, the US Department of Energy's Associate Director of Science for High Energy Physics, said in a press release. "With the LHC operational again, at even higher energies, the possibilities for new discoveries are endless, and the United States will be at the forefront of those discoveries."

During the LHC's second run, particles will collide at a staggering 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV), which is 60 percent higher than any accelerator has ever achieved before. The LHC's four major particle detectors - ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb - will collect and analyze data from these collisions, allowing them to explore new areas of research that, until now, were unattainable.

"We are on the threshold of an exciting time in particle physics: the LHC will turn on with the highest energy beam ever achieved," said Fleming Crim, National Science Foundation Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. "This energy regime will open the door to new discoveries about our Universe that were impossible as recently as two years ago."

The LHC, which began its first run back in 2009, after which it underwent a massive upgrade, will now operate for the next three years, until 2018.

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