The search for the God particle is a key task for the Large Hadron Collider, which straddles the borders of France and Switzerland.
It was designed to reveal the secrets of the universe by recreating the conditions that existed immediately after the big bang.
Here are the top 10 facts about the incredible machine.
1. It cost £2.6bn to build
2. It houses 9300 magnets – pre-cooled to -193.2C, using 10,080 tonnes of liquid nitrogen. They are then taken down to -271.3C with liquid helium.
3. It fires protons and lead ions around a 17mile circular tunnel.
4. The protons, when the machine is cranked up to full power, travel at a mind-blowing 99.9999991% of the speed of light – or 11,245 laps every second – or 671,000,000 mph.
5. 600m collisions take place every second.
6. The collisions generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun.
7. The inside of the accelerator is an ultra-high vacuum – a cavity as empty as interplanetary space. This is so the protons avoid collisions with gas molecules.
8. A total of 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 60 countries work on LHC.
9. The most powerful supercomputer system in the world was built to analyse the data generated by the LHC. It’s called the Grid and is formed from tens of thousands of interconnected computers scattered around the world. The data recorded by each of the big experiments at the LHC will fill around 100,000 dual-layer DVDs every year.
10. There’s even an LHC rap, which pretty much explains everything (see below).
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