The Times view on Cern and the Large Hadron Collider: Particle Pile-Up | How


The Large Hadron Collider has been out of action for four years while it was being upgraded

PIERRE ALBOUY / REUTERS

To every parent’s frustration, children relish smashing things to see what’s inside. Some never lose their habit, and become particle physicists. Beneath the Alps lies a machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Consisting of a 17-mile ring of superconducting magnets, it is the world’s most advanced particle accelerator, an instrument that boosts subatomic particles almost to the speed of light before slamming them into each other. The project is part of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as Cern.

The LHC will be switched on again next month after an upgrade lasting nearly four years. And researchers are eager to resume the work of making particles collide and crack open so that they reveal their inner workings. What’s the point? By using ever-growing

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