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Massive Collider Churning Out Data

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ATLAS detector

One goal of the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider is to search for the Higgs boson, a particle scientists say gives everything in the universe mass. For scale, note the workers toward bottom of the image.

Maximilien Brice / CERN

This year the world's largest science experiment roared to life. Deep beneath the French-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, has spent the year accelerating subatomic particles to near the speed of light and smashing them together. These collisions are being used to push the theories of physics to their limits.

It's hard to explain how much the Large Hadron Collider means to physicists, but you get a sense of it when you speak to Srini Rajagopalen. He works on a giant, underground detector, called ATLAS, that records what's produced in the collisions.

"I've been working on ATLAS since 1996," he says. "I was down in that pit when it was completely empty and it was wonderful, it was huge. I have watched the detector being built; I was involved in the research and development and the production and the testing—putting the whole thing together."

From National Public Radio
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