CERN Update: LHC Reboots With a Bang

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CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been rebooted and is all set for the scientists to embark on their research into the unknown arena of dark universe. The scientists at CERN, Europe’s research center for physics, restarted the LHC Sunday, April 5. It was earlier used to replicate the Big Bang, which is considered the starting point of our universe, to gain knowledge about the formation of all the elements and particles in their nuclei. This had led to the confirmation of the much talked about Higgs-Boson particle, which until then was proved only in theory and equations.

This time, the scientists say that they would focus their area of study on the ‘dark universe’. It might sound mind-boggling for people who are not from the field of astrophysics and its related streams of study. However, the scientists at CERN believe that a ‘dark universe’ lies beyond the realms of our own visible universe. This comes as great news for students, fans, as well as professionals from the field of high-energy physics. The LHC has been rebooted after a hiatus of two years. Its restart got delayed after an electrical short in an electromagnet after which many feared that this problem could postpone operation of the LHC for months.

lhcHowever, the problem has been fixed and it has cleared the way for proton particles to be zoomed around the 17-mile-long ring. CERN reported that the proton beams have been successfully tested in both directions in the LHC. It was shutdown two years ago after the herculean task of a major refit was planned. It also doubles the power of the LHC as it restarts and has been described as a major overhaul by CERN.

However, it will take at least a couple of months for the particle collision experiments to begin. The scientists are hoping that the LHC would produce proof of dark matter. This is a part of ‘New Physics’ that includes dark energy and matter which is believed to be making up around 96 percent of the entire matter in the universe, though it is completely invisible. As mentioned by CERN, this could be possible during the second run of the LHC using the collision energy which is twice of its first run and now would be capable of smashing particles into each other close to the speed of light.

It has been reported that after troubleshooting the refitting issue, a small part of the metal debris was located in the component of the electromagnet’s safety system known as diode box. This caused a short with the power supply of the magnet. It is said that the debris originated from the upgrade work carried out on the LHC. Reportedly, the engineers burnt away the metal debris by sending an electrical discharge through the circuit. This cleaning work was carried out Monday, March 30.

The engineers at CERN later performed the tests to check if the problem of short and debris has been resolved. They reported that the short has been cleared. Though, they had mentioned that there was some more work that needed to be done before the LHC could be re-powered. Now, the scientists at CERN are excited after the grand restart of the LHC as it kicks off the second run of most powerful and the biggest particle accelerator machine on the planet.

By Ankur Sinha


Photos by:
CERN – Flickr License
Jimmy – Flickr License