/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Inside the Large Hadron Collider (photos)

The Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator near Geneva, is in operation. It's a massively complex machine.

stephenshankland.jpg
Stephen Shankland
CERN-9.jpg
1 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

The heart of the LHC: a dipole magnet

At the heart of the LHC are 1,232 dipole magnets, of which this is a cross section. The dipole magnet creates a nearly linear magnetic field that steers the beam of ionized particles around the accelerator. Two beams travel separately in opposite directions through the left and right central channels.
CMS_end-cap_1.jpg
2 of 20 Maximilien Brice/CERN

CMS end cap lowered into place

The CMS experiment is one of two geared for a variety of tasks, including finding the elusive Higgs boson. Because the LHC is underground, equipment such as this massive end cap for the CMS experiment must be lowered with cranes. This cap was at one end of the cylindrical detector.
CMS_2007_labjack_2.jpg
3 of 20 Maximilien Brice/CERN

CMS silicon detector

One end of the CMS detector during the LHC's assembly in 2007.
CERN-4.jpg
4 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

LHC control center

The LHC's primary control center is used to monitor and run the particle accelerator. This pod of screens is matched by four others for other tasks. Separate control centers are used for the experiments. The green screens toward the left signal that all is well with hundreds of subsystems.
CERN-2.jpg
5 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

LHC computing center

The LHC requires tremendous computing power to store data. A primary copy of the data is stored at CERN, but it's replicated elsewhere across the planet.
Atlas_interior_1.jpg
6 of 20 Claudia Marcelloni/CERN

LHC's ATLAS detector

A view inside the ATLAS detector. Physicists hope to use the detector to find and detail the Higgs boson, a particle believed to imbue more conventional matter with mass.
Atlas_beam_pipe_1.jpg
7 of 20 Maximilien Brice/CERN

ATLAS beam pipe

ATLAS is one of the LHC's two general-purpose experiments. Here, the yellow crane holds the particle beam pipe that's being inserted into the detector.
ALICE_door_close_1.jpg
8 of 20 Mona Schweizer/CERN

Closing the ALICE doors

ALICE, one of the LHC's four major experiments, is designed to probe the high-energy past just after the Big Bang when quarks weren't confined within protons and neutrons as they are today.
CERN.jpg
9 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

CMS control center

Albert de Roeck, one of the CMS managers, calls up the latest experimental data from the Compact Muon Solenoid.
CMS_silicon_tracking_1.jpg
10 of 20 Michael Hoch/CERN

CMS silicon tracking detector insertion

LHS experiments are assembled underground. Here, a silicon tracking detector--a cousin to an ordinary digital camera sensor--is inserted into one of the LHC's two general-purpose experiments, the CMS.
CERN-3.jpg
11 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

The World Wide Web's first server

CERN is where Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. This is the hand-written note on the side of the first Web server alerting staff not to switch it off.
CERN-5.jpg
12 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

In the LHC control center

Mirko Pojer, a physicist and the engineer in charge of LHC operations, explains properties of the LHC's two countercirculating proton beams.
damaged_lhc.jpg
13 of 20 Maximilien Brice/CERN

Damaged LHC

In a September 2008 incident at the LHC, electrical current resistance heated this area until liquid helium burst into a gas, damaging the LHC and forcing a delay in operation and an amended design.
CERN-7.jpg
14 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

LHC magnet junction

This shot shows the exposed innards of a junction between two superconducting magnet sections at the LHC. The electrical bus connection toward the upper right failed in September 2008, overheating and causing a serious operational incident.
CERN-6.jpg
15 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

CERN celebration

It's customary to celebrate milestones at CERN. Here are some of the leftover bottles.
CERN-10.jpg
16 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

ATLAS mural

The exterior of the Atlas control center at CERN is spruced up with physics-appropriate artwork.
CERN-11.jpg
17 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Globe of Science and Innovation

The Globe of Science and Innovation has no scientific function, but the center is a distinctive CERN landmark.
CERN-8.jpg
18 of 20 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Magnet assembly

This magnet assembly, above ground and not in use, shows how the LHC fits within its underground cavern.
LHC_ring_aerial_1.jpg
19 of 20 CERN

LHC sprawl

The LHC, which fits into the underground tunnel used by an earlier accelerator at CERN, is 27 kilometers in circumference. For scale, the Geneva airport is at the far end of the circle in this shot and the Alps are in the distance.
LHC_tube_1.jpg
20 of 20 Claudia Marcelloni/CERN

Last LHC connection--for a time

A 2007 photo shows a worker making the final connections in the LHC ring. Some of the work will be redone after a planned shutdown before the accelerator is run at full power.

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

40 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

65 Photos
2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

More Galleries

2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

21 Photos
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

More Galleries

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

74 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

63 Photos
1972 Datsun 240Z: No nostalgia required

More Galleries

1972 Datsun 240Z: No nostalgia required

29 Photos
2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

More Galleries

2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

32 Photos