West News Wire: After a three-year hiatus for upgrades and maintenance, the world’s largest particle collider reopened on Friday.

The 27-kilometer (17-mile) Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, which is located under a Swiss-French border area, is likely best recognised for its role in the 2012 confirmation of the subatomic Higgs boson.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said that two beams of protons circulated in opposite directions around the accelerator on Friday, but high-intensity, high-energy collisions are still a couple of months away.

It is the collider’s third run. A first round of experiments took place from 2010 to 2012, and a second from 2015 to 2018. This round is expected to last until 2026.

“The machines and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second long shutdown of CERN’s accelerator complex,” CERN’s director for accelerators and technology, Mike Lamont, said in a statement.

He added that the collider “will now operate at an even higher energy” and deliver significantly more data.

First launched in September of 2008, the LHC was temporarily decommissioned in December of 2018 for much-needed repairs and upgrades. This marked the second long-term shutdown in the accelerator’s history.

In 2013, the LHC was turned off for two years to have its cryogenic and vacuum systems serviced and a number of its magnets replaced. The system also got a more than 60 percent energy boost, raising the reading of teraelectronvolts (TeV) on each proton beam from 8 to 13. The recent interruption wrapped in similar adjustments.

The LHC can also build on findings gleaned from other circular particle colliders in its next phase.

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In early April, a team of collaborators from across the US used results from the now-defunct Tevatron accelerator in Illinois to come up with the most precise weight of the W boson to date. CERN can now confirm or refute that measurement, which could make waves for the underlying Standard Model in particle physics.


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