The world’s biggest and most powerful particle accelerator Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, has started working again after it was shut down for two years for servicing that almost doubled its power. The LHC re-booting is now under way, with protons making their way around its 27-kilometre tunnel for the first time since 2013. Particle beams will soon travel at very high speeds in both directions, just below the speed of light, inside parallel pipes.
However, actual collisions will not happen for at least a month, but once they start, they will occur with nearly double the energy they reached during the earlier run. The beams arrived a week later than originally planned, due to an electrical fault. The protons are injected at a relatively low energy to begin with. However, the engineers hope to gradually increase their energy levels to 13 trillion electronvolts, roughly double of what it was during the LHC’s first run.
The scientists are hopeful of finding a “new physics” beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The model describes 17 subatomic particles, including 12 building blocks of matter and 5 “force carriers” - the last of which, the Higgs boson or the God Particle, was discovered by the LHC in 2012. Such things have been proposed to explain several puzzling properties of the universe, but have not been detected so far. These include things like dark energy and dark matter too. Dark energy is the all-pervading force proposed to expalin the faster and faster expansion of the universe while dark matter is the “web” that holds all visible matter in place. It also explaisn why galaxies spin much faster than they should.