Have you ever wondered about the grand scale of scientific experiments? How about one that’s almost as big as a whole city? Today, we are going to dive into the world of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest and most powerful particle collider.
The Large Hadron Collider is a marvel of modern science, situated deep beneath the border of France and Switzerland. It’s like an enormous underground racetrack for particles. Constructed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the LHC took 10 years to build, from 1998 to 2008, and involved over 10,000 scientists and hundreds of universities and laboratories from more than 100 countries.
Now, let’s talk about the size of this scientific giant. The LHC is a massive tunnel, shaped in a ring, and it’s roughly 27 kilometers (or about 17 miles) in circumference. That’s longer than the entire island of Manhattan! And it’s not just long - the LHC also goes deep. It sits as far as 175 meters (or about 574 feet) below the ground. That’s deeper than the Eiffel Tower is tall!
The LHC isn’t just big in size; it’s also big in scientific achievements. The first particle collisions were made in 2010, and they were done at an energy level four times the previous world record. Even more impressive, in 2012, scientists announced the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC. This tiny particle, often called the “God particle,” helps us understand why other particles have mass.
After its initial successes, the LHC didn’t rest on its laurels. Between 2013 and 2015, the LHC was shut down for upgrades. When it started up again, it reached an energy level of 6.8 teraelectronvolts per beam, nearly double the energy of its first collisions. At the end of 2018, the LHC was shut down again for three years for further improvements, showing that even the biggest scientific projects can always get a little bit better. So, the next time you think about the Large Hadron Collider, remember - it’s not just a particle collider. It’s a giant ring buried deep beneath the earth, longer than Manhattan and deeper than the Eiffel Tower, pushing the boundaries of what we know about the universe.
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