After a two-year shutdown for upgrades
and maintenance, the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) — already the world’s
largest and most powerful particle accelerator
— is back online and more powerful than
ever. The LHC’s particles, which whiz around
a 17-mile loop at almost light speed, will now
boast nearly twice the collision energy. While
the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle
was a landmark event, it was basically expected.
Physicists hope that with bigger energies come
bigger findings: brand-new particles, evidence for
theories beyond the Standard Model (the current
paradigm) or even the discovery of dark matter’s
identity. Hold on to your protons.