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Physicists talk firing up CERN’s Large Hadron Collider after two year hiatus

by AirTalk

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This file picture taken on March 22, 2007 shows a woman walking near the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS), at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particule accelerator in Geneva. In the most complex scientific experiment ever undertaken, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be switched on September 10, 2008 accelerating sub-atomic particles to nearly the speed of light before smashing them together. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

For the last two years, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN), has been hibernating while scientists tinkered with and worked on upgrading the massive machine, which sports a 17-mile circumference that particle beams are fired around, with the hope being that the resulting collision will produce elusive particles that will tell physicists more about the makeup of the universe.

Now, the upgrades are done, and scientists are turning the LHC back on to continue their research.

The upgrades to the LHC will allow it to accelerate particle beams at more than double the speed of what it was previously capable of, which physicists hope will allow them to find out more about things like why the cosmos are full of dark matter and where all the universe’s anti-matter went.

How could the experiments being conducted using the LHC at CERN change the way we understand the universe? Specifically, what kinds of new experiments will scientists be able to conduct with the upgrades to the LHC?


Maria Spiropulu, Professor of Physics in the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Department at Caltech. She’s also a former senior research physicist at CERN.

Jean-Roch Vlimant, postdoctoral research scientist with Caltech who is stationed at CERN.

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