Large Hadron Collider

For Enabling Mind-Blowing Scientific Discoveries that Are Helping Physicists Decode the Universe (Most Influential Projects: #44)

 
img

PHOTO BY FRANCIS DEMANGE/GAMMA-RAPHO VIA GETTY IMAGES

img

What's the world made of? How does it all work? Looking to shed light on those fundamental questions, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) went big. Really big. Its Large Hadron Collider was constructed to help re-create the conditions of the universe's earliest days—well before Earth existed.

It took more than a decade to complete the project, and scientists at the time feared if it wasn't successful that other ambitious research efforts would fall victim in the aftermath. Fortunately, that concern proved hypothetical: The team delivered.

The Large Hadron Collider is a 27-kilometer (16.8-mile) ring of superconducting magnets, among the most powerful particle accelerators ever built. It rests below ground outside Geneva, Switzerland, with the particles shooting into France and back. That takes some serious precision: The particles the collider accelerates are so small that making them collide is akin to firing two needles 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) apart and having them meet halfway.

Since its debut in 2008, the collider has been smashing trillions and trillions of protons together so researchers can study the results. One of the team's highest-profile achievements was identifying the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that's one of the keys to understanding the universe. Project spokesman Joe Incandela, after the Higgs discovery, said: “It's something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Content

  • Project Management Journal

    Using Principal–Steward Contracting and Scenario Planning to Manage Megaprojects member content locked

    By Turner, J. Rodney Megaprojects are complex, but people use constructs inappropriate in complex situations for their management, particularly contractual arrangements.

  • Project Management Journal

    A Dynamic Capabilities Model of Innovation in Large Interfirm Projects member content locked

    By Steen, John | Ford, Jerad A. | Verreynne, Martie-Louise The time-bounded nature of large interfirm projects and technical interdependencies constrain innovation.

  • PM Network

    Quantum Leap member content open

    By Ali, Ambreen | Hendershot, Steve | Hermans, Amanda | Thomas, Jen | Wilkinson, Amy When Google announced in August that one of its quantum computers had succeeded in simulating a chemical reaction, it became the latest breakthrough for the technology. Quantum’s promise: harnessing…

  • Playbook for Project Management in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Projects member content open

    By PMI South Asia | NASSCOM The playbook presents a framework with recommendations on resources that organizations can use to build capability for DS/AI projects and a best practices toolkit to apply to different project stages.

  • PM Network

    Edge of Infinity member content open

    Clean, limitless energy is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Nuclear fusion is very real, with the potential to generate an inexhaustible supply of zero-carbon energy, without the intense…

Advertisement