Large Hadron Collider, CERN

Large Hadron Collider, CERN

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Credit: ADAM HART-DAVIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory) in Switzerland. The LHC is a 27-kilometre-long high-energy particle accelerator. It uses rings of superconducting magnets to accelerate two counter-rotating beams of protons to an energy of 7 teraelectronvolts (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 housed in a cryostat (blue), which is cooled by liquid helium to keep the operating temperature at just above absolute zero. The LHC is scheduled to start operating in summer 2008 and will endeavour to probe the inner structure of matter.

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