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Building a behemoth


The Large Hadron Collider makes extensive use of existing CERN infrastructure but is in many respects an unprecedented undertaking. It is a proton–proton collider; therefore, it requires two separate accelerator rings with magnetic fields of opposite polarity to guide the two beams in opposite directions around its 27-km circumference. In addition, the extraordinary energies and collision rates that it has been designed to attain pose huge challenges for controlling the beam and protecting the accelerator.

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Figure 1: Layout of the LHC collider.
Figure 2: Cross-section of the two-in-one design for the main LHC magnets.
Figure 3: Installing the LHC magnets.


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The authors would like to acknowledge the many thousands of people at CERN and in collaborating institutes who have contributed to the design and construction of the LHC machine and experiments.

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Brüning, O., Collier, P. Building a behemoth. Nature 448, 285–289 (2007).

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