Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

What is Large Hadron Collider (LHC)?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Mains level: Not Much


Central idea: The article provides an overview of the LHC, its construction, how it works, and what it has discovered. It also discusses the future of the LHC, including plans to upgrade it and build a bigger version.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

  • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest science experiment built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
  • It is a collider that smashes two beams of particles in opposite directions and these particles are hadrons.
  • The LHC is on the energy frontier of physics research, conducting experiments with highly energized particles.
  • Currently, the LHC is being warmed up for its third season of operations following upgrades that have made it more sensitive and accurate.

How does the LHC work?

  • Hadrons are subatomic particles made up of smaller particles, and the LHC typically uses protons.
  • Protons are energized by accelerating them through a narrow circular pipe that is 27 km long.
  • The pipe encircles two D-shaped magnetic fields created by almost 9,600 magnets.
  • Protons are accelerated through the beam pipe by rapidly switching the direction of the magnetic field.
  • Eventually, protons move at 99.999999% of the speed of light, according to the special theory of relativity.

What happens when particles are smashed?

  • When two antiparallel beams of energized protons collide head-on, the energy at the point of collision is equal to the sum of the energy carried by the two beams.
  • The highest centre-of-mass collision energy the LHC has achieved so far is 13.6 TeV.
  • At the moment of collision, there is chaos, and energy coalesces into different subatomic particles under the guidance of the fundamental forces of nature.
  • Different particles take shape depending on the amount and flavour of energy available.

What has the LHC found so far?

  • The LHC consists of nine detectors, and they study particle interactions in different ways.
  • The ATLAS and CMS detectors discovered the Higgs boson in 2012 and confirmed their findings in 2013.
  • Using the data from collisions, scientists have tested the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics, observed exotic particles, and pieced together information about extreme natural conditions.

What is the LHC’s future?

  • The LHC has not been able to find ‘new physics’ that can explain the nature of dark matter or why gravity is such a weak force.
  • One way forward is to improve the LHC’s luminosity by 10x by 2027 through upgrades.
  • Another idea is to build a bigger and more powerful version of the LHC, based on the hypothesis that it can find ‘new physics’ at even higher energies.
  • Physicists are divided on whether to invest in building a bigger machine or less expensive experiments with guaranteed results.


What is Hadron?

  • Hadron is any member of a class of subatomic particles that are built from quarks and thus react through the agency of the strong force. The hadrons embrace mesons, baryons (e.g., protons, neutrons, and sigma particles), and their many resonances.


  • European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
  • CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border. It has 23 member states.
  • India in 2016 became an associate member of the CERN. Indian scientists have played a significant role in the ALICE experiment, which is a dedicated experiment for search and study of Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP).

Try this MCQ

Which of the following is a subatomic particle made up of smaller particles and is commonly used in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)?

(a) Protons

(b) Electrons

(c) Neutrons

(d) Photons


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx


Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
User Avatar
1 year ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


Last edited 1 year ago by Ajit Kumar
User Avatar
1 year ago
Post your answers here." Read more »



Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch