Tucked 100 meters underground between the border of France and Switzerland is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), an instrument considered to be the largest particle accelerator in the world. The LHC, a model of which is shown above, is used by physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), located in Geneva, to study particles.
“Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap,” according to CERN’s website. “Physicists use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy.”
CERN physicists analyze the particles that are created by the collisions with detectors used in experiments that are dedicated the LHC.