The Large Hadron Collider is used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionize our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the Standard Model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics. It is theorized the collider will produce the elusive Higgs boson, the observation of which could confirm the predictions and missing links in the Standard Model of physics and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass.
Two beams of subatomic particles called hadrons – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists use the Large Hadron Collider to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyze the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.