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The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is the world's most powerful particle accelerator. On 13 December 2011, physicists working with the machine announced that they had seen their first glimpse of the Higgs boson, believed to confer mass on the other particles of the quantum bestiary. In this online Special, Nature asks why we should be excited.


  • How the LHC works

    Click on the accelerators and experiments to find out how a whiff of gas turns into a fireball that mimics the creation of the universe.

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  • LHC by the numbers

    The Large Hadron Collider — the largest particle accelerator in the world — just oozes numerical hyperbole.

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  • In the Field

    Join our reporter Geoff Brumfiel as he blogs from the LHC's start-up.

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  • The LHC switches on

    The Large Hadron Collider is finally ready to go. Geoff Brumfiel talks to CERN theorist John Ellis about his hopes for the project — and what happens if there are no Higgs bosons.

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  • Nobel perspective

    At this year's Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, David Gross (Nobel Prize for Physics 2004) told Nature what the LHC means to the physics community and shared his hopes for the collider.


  • Large Hadron Collider: The big reboot

    As the Large Hadron Collider prepares to come back to life after a two-year hiatus, physicists are gearing up to go beyond the standard model of particle physics.

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  • High-energy physics: Down the petabyte highway

    For scientists, collisions at the world's most powerful particle collider are just the start. Nature follows the torrent of data on its circuitous journey around the world.

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  • Physics: The Large Human Collider

    Social scientists have embedded themselves at CERN to study the world's biggest research collaboration. Zeeya Merali reports on a 10,000-person physics project.

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  • Newsmaker of the year: The machine maker

    He did more than anyone to build the Large Hadron Collider. This year he saw it finished -- and then break down. Geoff Brumfiel profiles the LHC's project leader, Nature's newsmaker of the year.

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  • The race to break the standard model

    The Large Hadron Collider is the latest attempt to move fundamental physics past the frustratingly successful 'standard model'. But it is not the only way to do it. Geoff Brumfiel surveys the contenders attempting to capture the prize before the collider gets up to speed.

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  • Big data: Welcome to the petacentre

    What does it take to store bytes by the tens of thousands of trillions? Cory Doctorow meets the people and machines for which it's all in a day's work.

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  • Particle physics: Let the games begin

    A series of mental challenges is helping physicists to prepare for the strange data they may get when the next particle accelerator goes live. Jenny Hogan joins the work-out.

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  • Paris 1951: The birth of CERN

    François de Rose chaired the meeting that founded Europe's premier facility for experimental nuclear and particle research. Here he relives the five days of drama that changed the world of physics.

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  • Collision course

    What will scientists do if they fail to find the Higgs boson?

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  • Cool philosophies

    High-energy physicists should not gloss over fundamental conundrums.

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  • A unifying force

    The questions to be explored at the Large Hadron Collider offer a chance to rekindle public interest in the fundamental principles of the Universe in which we live.

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Nature Physics Editorial

  • Here we go...

    After almost three decades of preparation, CERN's Large Hadron Collider is turning on.

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Nature Jobs

  • Collision course

    This month, all eyes in the high-energy-physics community will be on the long-awaited launch of CERN's new particle collider. But US budget cuts and an uncertain job market mean the field has little else to celebrate.

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Nature Insight

News & Views

  • Nobel 2013 Physics: Endowing particles with mass

    As the recipients of the 2013 science Nobel prizes gather in Stockholm to celebrate and be celebrated, News & Views shares some expert opinions on the achievements honoured.

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