Physics Concepts and Definitions

How does the Large Hadron Collider work?
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  1. Before the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) starts its work, scientists produce the protons it will use by removing electrons from hydrogen atoms. The protons are put in radio frequency cavities, which increase their speed. By the time the protons are going fast enough, they've separated into bunches of 1.1x1011 protons. Each proton beam has 2,808 bunches [source: CERN]. Once the beams have achieved the right speed, they are inserted into the LHC. One beam is set on a clockwise path, and the other beam is set on a counterclockwise path. The beams continue picking up speed inside the LHC. When they are going at their top speed, the beams will be making 11,245 trips around the LHC's 16.8-mile (27-kilometer) circumference per second. When the two beams collide at one of the LHC's detector sites, they will collide 600 million times per second. At that point, the LHC's various computers and cameras will start recording data from the collision.

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