LHC tunnel, CERN

LHC tunnel, CERN

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Caption: LHC tunnel. Technician cycling past the LHC (large hadron collider) in its 27-kilometre tunnel at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is an underground ring of superconducting magnets housed in this pipe-like structure (blue), or cryostat. The cryostat is cooled by liquid helium to keep the operating temperature at just above absolute zero. The LHC works by accelerating two counter-rotating beams of protons to an energy of 7 tera electron volts (TeV). It then forces these beams to collide head-on near two main detectors, known as the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus), which detect the sub- atomic particles resulting from the collision. The LHC is scheduled to start operating in May 2008.

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