The LHC is back!

November 23, 2009 Off By Chris Hinton

OK, so we’ve known this is coming for quite some time, but the largest physics experiment on Earth is now back up and running.
The Large Hadron Collider was switched on, with much fanfare, last year, but an electrical failure soon shut it down again. Teams at CERN have been working hard to get it back up and running and, on the 20th of November, issued a press release to inform the world that particles are once again accelerating around the collider.
Mention is made in the press release to a clockwise proton beam being established, while a recent tweet from CERN also makes mention of getting an anti-clockwise beam going. While this is all vital work CERN expect that the highest-energy particle collisions won’t occur until next year, although I’d be willing to bet there will be plenty of interesting information coming out of the various experiments around the LHC before then!
All of this leads up to the potential discovery of the Higgs Boson, a theoretical particle required to explain the presence of mass in the universe. Nobody knows for certain whether it exists (it’s predicted to exist but has never been observed) but by smashing protons together and seeing what they decay into the scientists at CERN hope to acquire evidence of the Higgs Boson’s presence.
If you want to keep up to date with what’s happening at the LHC you can do so at CERN’s Twitter feed, or the LHC First Physics press page. And if you want to chip in with any insights, concerns, questions, or anything else, just put ’em in the comments as usual!