CERN LHC Explained in 2 Minutes

CERN LHC Explained in 2 Minutes

How did the CERN LHC (Large Hadron Collider) get its name?

Well, it's a large machine, about 27 kilometers in circumference and it collides protons. So it's a large collider. But what about the Hadron in the name? It turns out the proton belongs to a class of particles called Hadrons. The Proton is a Hadron. So we have a Large Hadron Collider.

Why collide protons anyway?

The LHC accelerates two counter-rotating circular beams of protons. The beam pipes are about 27 kilometers in circumference, and the protons are steered around the machine by powerful superconducting magnets. The two beams intersect at 4 points and this is where the collisions occur.

When the protons reach the desired energy they are collided head-on and the debris produced is measured in order to learn about the internal structure of the proton. It turns out the proton is a complex object. Current theories describe it as composed of three quarks bound together by an incredibly strong force field generated by particles called gluons.

So, colliding protons may result in their constituent quarks colliding and yielding information about quarks. The gluons could also collide and yield more information about the force field within the proton.

This dashboard lets you see the LHC machine status in realtime. Check machine energy, ramps, beam status, machine tests, detector status and more. Plus, see messages from machine operators.

Watch LHC operations in realtime

It doesn't matter if you're a top physicist or simply an interested consumer.. the mystery of the proton is this.. why does nature pack such amazing complexity into such an incredibly small object?

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott