The world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is back at work after a two-year revamp.
The 27 kilometre ring between France and Switzerland speeds 100 billion to 1 trillion protons to near light-speed before crashing them into one another, spraying out subatomic particles that exist only for tiny fractions of a second.
What remains helps scientists understand the fundamental building blocks of nature, such as the Higgs boson.
After $160m worth of maintenance and upgrade work the LHC now has almost double the collision energy.
The search this time will focus on explanations enigmatic dark matter and look for signs of extra dimensions. It will also investigate the theoretical concept of supersymmetry. Physicists hope to prove that there is a partner particle for each particle in the Standard Model, to help explain why particles have mass.
Other experiments will seek to explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the Universe and how the Big Bang gave birth to fundamental particles.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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