CERN’s particle accelerator starts up after a three-year hiatus

The Large Hadron Collider has restarted after three years of upgrades.

On Friday, two proton beams streaked through the Large Hadron Collider, marking the return of the world’s largest particle accelerator after more than three years of hiatus. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has spent the past three years carrying out maintenance work and make major improvements to the system. Now the group is preparing to begin a four-year period of data collection that scientists hope will reveal new secrets of the universe.

“It will be two to three times better, in terms of our experiment’s ability to detect, collect and analyze data,” said Marcella Bona, a particle physicist at Queen Mary University of London. BBC.

This summer will mark the start of the third run of the LHC, called Run 3. Upgrades in recent years mean that this run will see a greater number of particle collisions and that these particles will collide with more energy than everything. seen in previous races. Scientists will use the new capabilities to test the limits of the Standard Model of physics, a theory that explains how particles interact at the subatomic level. Along with other experiments, they’ll try to find new types of particles and maybe even get a clearer picture of dark matter, a still-unknown substance that scientists say makes up a high percentage of it. of the universe. But its existence has still not been proven.

New projects will also take a closer look at the Higgs boson, a particle discovered during experiments at the LHC in a landmark discovery a decade ago.

“It’s a really exciting time,” Bona said. BBC. “We have worked over the past three years to modernize the machines. Now we are ready.

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