10 Years have passed since the Large Hadron Collider Came Online

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Some say that the Large Hardon Collider (or LHC for short) represents the most complex machine that we ever built. More than 100 countries provided thousands of scientists to make a reality out of the LHC dream and yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary from the moment that dream became reality.

Ten years ago CERN celebrated the first time ever that a proton beam would fully complete a circuit inside the LHC. That moment represented the beginning and… not quite so. In order for the LHC to happen it took a long time and a lot of work.

Back in 1984, the first hints of what would become the LHC surface as researchers from ECFA – the European Committee for Future Accelerators – chose Switzerland to organize a workshop on discussing the future of particle accelerator projects. Initially, the LHC was planned to be built alongside the upcoming LEP (or Large Electron-Positron Collider), although the plan was abandoned and LHC obtained a much grander vision.

The 1990s passed as CERN made plans for the LHC, intending to make it the most powerful particle collider on the planet. Luckily, they didn’t have to start from scratch, as they used the underground tunnel dug for the LEP, which measured 27 kilometers. LEP was decommissioned in 2000 and so LHC obtained the sole focus.

The next eight years were spent by CERN on installing the superconducting magnets and ATLAS and ALICE, the detection instruments which together make up the particle accelerator we know today as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

September 10th, 2018: LHC’s beam screen recorded two yellow dots which indicated that the proton beams had successfully went along the circular track. On that day, more than a billion people watched the event unfold, according to CERN’s estimates.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.