Geneva, 03 June, 2015. Birmingham physicists eagerly await results as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) starts to deliver physics data today for the first time in 27 months.
After an almost two year shutdown and several months re-commissioning, the LHC is now providing collisions to all its experiments at the unprecedented energy of 13 TeV, almost double the collision energy of its first run. This marks the start of season 2 at the LHC, opening the way to new discoveries. The LHC will now run round the clock for the next three years.
Today the LHC operators declared “stable beams”, the signal for the LHC experiments that they can start taking data. Beams are made of “trains” of proton bunches moving at almost the speed of light around the 27 kilometre ring of the LHC. These so-called bunch trains circulate in opposite directions, guided by powerful superconducting magnets. Today the LHC was filled with 12 bunches each containing around 100 billion protons. This rate will be progressively increased as the run goes on to 2800 bunches per beam, allowing the LHC to produce up to 1 billion collisions per second .
During the first run of the LHC, the ATLAS and CMS experiments announced the discovery of the so-called Higgs boson, which was the last piece of the puzzle known as the Standard Model, a theory that describes the fundamental particles from which everything visible in the universe is made, along with interactions at work between them.
Professor Paul Newman, Head of Particle Physics at the University of Birmingham, and member of the ATLAS project, said: 'For the second time in five years, the LHC will be delivering a step-change in the maximum energy at which we are able to collide particles and correspondingly our observable landscape for new discoveries. Such breakthroughs are rare - the next one is probably over two decades away. It's a privilege to be involved at such an exciting time and, along with all of my colleagues, I'm looking forward to exploring the new territory and finding out what surprises nature has in store for us.'
‘The first 3-year run of the LHC, which culminated with major discovery in July 2012, was only the start of our journey. It is time for new physics!’ said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. ‘We have seen first data beginning to flow. Let’s see what they will reveal to us about how our universe works.’
With run 2 starting today, physicists have the ambition to further explore the Standard Model and even to find evidence of new physics phenomena beyond its boundaries, which could explain remaining mysteries such as dark matter, believed to make up about a quarter of the universe, or nature’s apparent preference for matter over antimatter, without which we would not exist.
Over the two-year shutdown, the four large experiments ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb also went through an important programme of maintenance and improvements in preparation for the new energy frontier.
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