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LHC: visionary project or waste of money?

The greatest scientific folly of all time or the most visionary project ever attempted by mankind. How do you think Cern's Large Hadron Collider will be viewed in 20 years?

This content was published on July 26, 2011 - 11:36

How it works

In the Large Hadron Collider, high-energy protons in two counter-rotating beams are smashed together to search for exotic particles.

The beams contain billions of protons. Travelling just under the speed of light, they are guided by thousands of superconducting magnets.

The beams usually move through two vacuum pipes, but at four points they collide in the hearts of the main experiments, known by their acronyms: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb.

When operational, the detectors see up to 600 million collision events per second, with the experiments scouring the data for signs of extremely rare events such as the creation of the so-called God particle, the yet-to-be-discovered Higgs boson.

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