What is the LHC?
The LHC is exactly what its name suggests - a large collider of hadrons. Strictly, LHC refers to the collider; a machine that deserves to be labelled ‘large’, it not only weighs more than 38,000 tonnes, but runs for 27km (16.5m) in a circular tunnel 100 metres beneath the Swiss/French border at Geneva.
However, the collider is only one of three essential parts of the LHC project. The other two are:
the detectors, which sit in 4 huge chambers at points around the LHC tunnel
the GRID, which is a global network of computers and software essential to processing the data recorded by LHC’s detectors
The LHC’s 27km loop in a sense encircles the globe, because the LHC project is supported by an enormous international community of scientists and engineers. Working in multinational teams, at CERN and around the world, they are building and testing LHC equipment and software, participating in experiments and analysing data. The UK has a major role in leading the project and has scientists and engineers working on all the main experiments.
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