The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's most powerful particle accelerator and the largest machine humans have ever built. It was contructed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and is located at the France–Switzerland border near Geneva. The LHC consists of a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of proton particles along the way. Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide at four locations around the accelerator ring, corresponding to the positions of four particle detectors. Scientists hope that the Large Hadron Collider will help answer some of the fundamental open questions in physics. With the experiments conducted at CERN it became possible to recreate the conditions existing in the first seconds after the Big Bang to give us a better understanding of the nature of the Universe. In 2012 the LHC discovered the famous Higgs boson which provided us new insights on the structure of cosmic matter. Scientific reserach at CERN is about the fundamental question asked by Johannes Keppler in the 16th century: what is the inner structure that holds the world together?
The artwork “supersymmetric particles“ pictures ATLAS, one of the four LHC detectors. 46 m long, 25 m high and 25 m wide, the 7000-tonne machine is the largest particle detector ever constructed. This gigantic object evokes a sublime experience as it isolates a highly complex measuring area from the real world, it creates its own isolated sphere of reality. ATLAS investigates a wide range of physics, from the search for the Higgs boson to particles that could make up dark matter, and the search for supersymmetric particles. Beams of hydrogene protons collide at the centre of the ATLAS detector making collision debris, which fly out from the collision point in all directions. Detecting subsystems arranged in layers around the collision point record the paths, momentum, and energy of the particles, allowing them to be individually identified. Complex data-acquisition and computing systems are used to analyse the collision events recorded as 600 million proton collisions per second create 144.000 terrabyte of data per hour. ATLAS experiments also look for the evidence of supersymmetry which predicts that each particle in the Universe has a partner with a spin that differs. The Standard Model of Physics seems to be incomplete in several aspects as for the explanation of dark matter which forms a large yet totally unknown part of the Universe. Perhaps the reason we still have so many questions about the inner workings of the universe is because we have so far only seen half of the picture.