The Large Hadron Collider is back in operation today after taking more than two years off for repairs, maintenance and upgrades. Scientists have been seeking information on the workings of the universe, and the collider has already delivered loads of data that’s still being analyzed.
Now that it’s back in operation, scientists are waiting with baited breath to see what else they can learn.
Large Hadron Collider gets some upgrades
Physicists upgraded the Large Hadron Collider to make it a lot more powerful The 16-mile long machine is the biggest science experiment in the world. The BBC reports that it’s a big tube, comparing it to “a vast doughnut.”
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The machine surged to life on Wednesday, once again starting to smash proton beams into each other. With the upgrades, the collider is able to do so faster and with much greater energy. Scientists hope that the improvements will provide them with new discoveries that are tiny that even the world’s strongest microscopes aren’t able to see.
Collider staff told to be patient
The head of CERN, which is Europe’s Organization for Nuclear Research, congratulated his workers on a job well done in getting the Large Hadron Collider back up and running. However, he also warned them that it will be some time before any discoveries start rolling in.
Operators of the collider guide proton beam particles and send them smashing into each other. The point of the collisions is to discover new exotic particles. As time moves on, the collider operators will speed up the rate at which the collisions occur, hoping to collect data on the subatomic level to learn how everything in the universe sticks together. Physicists also want to learn about dark matter.
“Only” 100 billion protons
According to Forbes contributor Brid-Aine Parnell, the current speed at which operators are smashing the particle beams together is 13 tetraelectronvolts (TeV).
On the first day back in operation, the Large Hadron Collider only ran six bunches which contain a “mere” 100 billion protons. Operators are steadily ramping it up, however, planning to push the collider up to 2808 bunches a bean or 1 billion collisions per second.