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World’s most powerful particle accelerator comes back to life

After three years of shutdown, the most powerful particle accelerator has been switched on today and will shortly begin another run of cutting-edge physics.

A photo of the LHC, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Credit: Hertzog, Samuel Joseph, CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), on the French-Swiss border near Geneva, was switched off in 2018. This is to enable scientists and engineers from all over the world to make it even more powerful.

Now the machine has been turned back on, the global physics community celebrates.

Underwent major upgrades

Mike Lamont, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, recently said:

The machines and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second long shutdown of CERN’s accelerator complex.

The LHC itself has undergone an extensive consolidation programme and will now operate at an even higher energy and, thanks to major improvements in the injector complex, it will deliver significantly more data to the upgraded LHC experiments

UK leadership

Teams across the world have helped the LHC reach record-breaking energy levels for its third physics run.

This new energy frontier will allow researchers to tackle ever more challenging questions about the laws of nature and our understanding of the building blocks of matter.

As part of the international effort, UK teams have led a series of vital work packages to improve the performance of each of the LHC’s four main instruments.

The UK’s contributions to the upgrade are worth more than £25 million, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Continuing to improve

Executive Chair of STFC and particle physicist Professor Mark Thomson recently said:

The UK continues to enjoy a strong and fruitful relationship with CERN. Our scientists and engineers have played pivotal roles in contributing to the major upgrades, paving the way for exciting UK-led research on the more powerful beams at the LHC.

It will never cease to impress me how our scientists and engineers, with their incredible skill and expertise, can continue to improve these cutting-edge facilities using ever more innovative technologies.

The global science community will now eagerly await the results from the new run, which will probe some of the recent hints of new physics seen at the LHC and elsewhere.

Global science superpower

Science Minister George Freeman recently said:

The LHC at CERN in Geneva is one of the world’s most important laboratories allowing scientists to understand the deepest questions of the atomic structure of our universe and the origins of human life.

The UK is proud to have been a founding partner of CERN and of the key role UK physicists and engineers have played in designing and building vital pieces of the LHC’s experiments.

Through our leading role in global projects of this scale the UK is building on a role as a global science superpower and helping retain the highest calibre of talented scientists in the UK.

Click here for the full press release

 

Channel website: http://www.stfc.ac.uk/

Original article link: https://www.ukri.org/news/worlds-most-powerful-particle-accelerator-comes-back-to-life/

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