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CERN celebrates 60 years of science

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 02:52

CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade.

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The reason CERN's known around the world. The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator helped the European Organisation for Nuclear Research detect the Higgs boson. 100 metres underground, inside the LHC, two high-energy particle beams travel at almost the speed of light, guided by superconducting magnets, before they're made to collide. The LHC's hasn't run since the Higgs boson discovery was announced - as it's being revamped. PTC The upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider has been completed during the shutdown. Now the process has begun of cooling it down to its operating temperature, which is colder than deep space. However this section is one of those which hasn't yet been cooled down, otherwise it wouldn't be safe for visitors like us couldn't be here. The 27-kilometre-long LHC under the French-Swiss border suffered technical faults shortly after being switched on, so it's never operated at full power. After a two-year switch-off, it'll be restarted in early 2015. And will run at 14 trillion electron-volts, double its previous speed, says engineer Jean-Philippe Tock. SOUNDBITE: Jean-Philippe Tock, Engineer at CERN, saying (English): "As the energy will be almost double, it means that the energy stored in the magnet, so the energy we have to deal with and to control is almost magnified by a factor of four." The 4 detectors where collisions take place along the LHC are also being upgraded. Despina Hatzifotiadou works on the ALICE experiment - and believes the revamp's worth the reported £70 million cost. SOUNDBITE: Despina Hatzifotiadou, Physicist at CERN, saying (English): "Up to now it was as if it was not fully exploited. I mean all the expense, all the effort, everything that went in to it was to reach this energy." Scientist Sudarshan Paramesvaran, working on the CMS experiment, is hopeful the upgrade will lead to further discoveries about the universe. SOUNDBITE: Sudarshan Paramesvaran, Scientist at CERN, saying (English): "We're still looking for new particles that theories predict, but we don't know whether they're there or not. One of these theories is supersymmetry and this predicts a whole new range of particles to look for at quite high mass, and so the extended energy that we'll get from the LHC will hopefully enable us to look for these particles and hopefully find them." Studying the universe isn't a short-term project. CERN's already considering another LHC upgrade, and eventually a replacement. SOUNDBITE: Jean-Philippe Tock, Engineer at CERN, saying (English): "These plans are to increase the luminosity, the number of collisions. These plans are going up to 2030, 2035. And also in parallel we have a study of a future circular collider that would be even larger and so more powerful, and we are thinking an accelerator of 80 or 100 kilometre circumference." Mainly funded by its 21 member states, CERN has spent around 5 billion euros on the LHC. Those working here would say it's impossible to put a price on a better understanding of the universe.

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CERN celebrates 60 years of science

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 02:52