Large Hadron Collider Update

After a lot of complications, Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is resuming operation on February 20, ramping up to a beam intensity of 3.5 TeV (trillion electron volts) sometime in March. It will then run for a period of 18 to 24 months, and will then shut down in early 2012 for winter repairs. (It was originally going to be shut down next winter for repairs, as well, but that plan has been revised.)

[caption id="attachment_396" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs Boson."][/caption]

The previous record was a beam of intensity of 0.98 TeV, which was broken by the LHC last November when it reached a beam intensity of 1.18 TeV. The LHC plan will result in collisions that are about three times more powerful than any that we've ever performed on Earth. The LHC was designed to circulate beams that have intensity of 7 TeV, but it'll be at least 2013 before we see it even trying to ramp up to this sort of power. In the meantime, physicists should be able to get a lot of great physics results to look over.


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