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The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Shut Down

The planet’s most powerful particle accelerator has, just now, gone quiet. Particles took their last shot around the Large Hadron Collider on December 3 before researchers shut the LHC for two years for upgrades. Situated at the particle physics laboratory CERN in Geneva, the accelerator has smashed together about 16 million billion protons since 2015, when it grasped its present energy of 13 trillion electron volts.

Expected advances before the machine resumes its operations in 2021 will bring the energy up to 14 trillion electron volts — the energy it was initially intended to reach.

Throughout a round of lower-energy impacts between 2009 and 2013, scientists found the elusive Higgs boson, filling in the last missing portion of the standard model of particle physics.

The expected changes to the machine will also lay the foundation for another manifestation of the collider further in the future, known as the High-Luminosity LHC

That advancement, projected to be ready by 2026, will increase the rate of proton smashups by at least a factor of five.

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