Ten years after it discovered the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is about to start smashing protons together at unprecedented energy levels in its quest to reveal more secrets about how the universe works.
The world’s largest and most powerful particle collider started back up in April after a three-year break for upgrades in preparation for its third run.
From Tuesday it will run around the clock for nearly four years at a record energy of 13.6 trillion electronvolts, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced at a press briefing last week.
It will send two beams of protons—particles in the nucleus of an atom—in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light around a 27-kilometer (17-mile) ring buried 100 meters under the Swiss-French border.
The resulting collisions will be recorded and analyzed by thousands of scientists as part of a raft of experiments, including ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb, which will use the enhanced power to probe dark matter, dark energy and other fundamental mysteries.
1.6 billion collisions a second
“We aim to be delivering 1.6 billion proton-proton collisions per second” for the ATLAS and CMS experiments, CERN’s head of accelerators and technology Mike Lamont said.