CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) is located in a northwest suburb of Geneva, Switzerland and is the world’s leading center for collaboration on nuclear research. One of its many activities involves the study of particle physics.
Particle physics is conducted in machines known as particle accelerators (aka particle colliders). These use electromagnetic fields to accelerate particles to high speeds and focus them into a fine beam. The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began operation at CERN in 2008. The LHC (Figure 1) is a 27 kilometer (16.8 mile) ring of superconducting magnets held at temperatures colder than outer space. Within this machine subatomic particles smash together at near light speed in an ultrahigh vacuum. It has allowed scientists unique insights into the fundamental building blocks of matter