Innovators

Searching for the Higgs Boson

By on May 14, 2013
exterior-map.jpg Courtesy CERN

The Large Hadron Collider sits in a 17-mile-long, circular tunnel (illustrated here in yellow), more than 500 feet below ground at CERN, where protons are smashed into each other at nearly the speed of light. Its primary purpose is to study the basic components of matter: the fundamental particles. When the lab was founded in 1954, pure physics research at the time focused on the inside of the atom (hence “nuclear” in its name), but since then, pure physics research has evolved and now concentrates on particle physics, which studies both the constituents of matter and the forces acting on them.

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