LHC Passes Important Milestone


The Large Hadron Collider is the highest energy particle collider in the world and it has just passed an important milestone.

The world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located just outside Geneva, Switzerland, has recently passed an important milestone. For the first time since resuming operations, the accelerator passed an important threshold, with each of the two beams of protons carrying 100 million joules of energy each.

After discovering the Higgs boson in 2012, the LHC was shut down for two years for retrofits, refurbishments and upgrades. This last Easter, the world’s largest particle accelerator resumed operations and with the ability to accelerate beams to an energy 60% higher than was possible in 2012. On May 21, the world was told that the LHC had hit [http://home.web.cern.ch/about/updates/2015/05/first-images-collisions-13-tev] the expected energy of 6.5 trillion electron volts per beam.

As impressive as that energy sounds, it is important to know that that energy is the energy carried by individual beam particles. It turns out that 6.5 trillion electron volts is about the energy of a mosquito flying at full speed.

However the LHC doesn’t accelerate individual particles. It accelerates many at a time. During the commissioning phase, the accelerator operators begin by accelerating a small number of protons, starting with a single bunch with about 100 million protons. Over the last months, the number of bunches have been steadily increased until reaching over a thousand. This corresponds to about a hundred trillion protons and an accumulated energy of 100 million joules of energy. This is about the amount of energy needed to power your house for an entire day.

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider passed an important milestone when they simultaneously accelerated two beams of particles, each carrying a prodigious 100 million joules of energy. (Figure —> Read More