The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
It first started up on 10 September 2008, and remains the latest addition to CERN’s accelerator complex. The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the 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. The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum. They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field maintained by superconducting electromagnets.
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The electromagnets are built from coils of special electric cable that operates in a superconducting state, efficiently conducting electricity without resistance or loss of energy. This requires chilling the magnets to ‑271.3°C – a temperature colder than outer space.
^ oooooooh, thank you Darth Vader - oh wait, should I call you Anakin? you know, for the LHC hipster cred?
For this reason, much of the accelerator is connected to a distribution system of liquid helium, which cools the magnets, as well as to other supply services.
^ go eat a tunafish sandwich