The world's most vast and powerful particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will reboot soon. The LHC was closed down in early 2013 for necessary maintenance and upgrade work.
Enclosed in a 17-mile circular tunnel between France and Switzerland, in a facility 164 to 574 feet underground, the LHC is the most sizable and complex machine ever built.
The LHC went live in Sept. 2008, allowing scientists to start reconstructing the environment that came into existence a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. The experimental machine produces these conditions by colliding proton beams at extremely high speeds.
In July 2012, LHC scientists discovered a particle later tentatively confirmed to be the Higgs Boson, which gives mass and form to everything in the universe. Researchers called the discovery one of the biggest finds in the decade.
Scientists say the Higgs Boson was lighter than hypothesized. The second run of the LHC will help them to better understand the particle.
The upgraded LHC will function even more efficiently. The machine has 10,000 magnets, each individually inspected and reinforced during maintenance. The LHC is scheduled to start up again on March 25, with scientists hoping to make new discoveries in particle physics and supersymmetry.
"Physicists expect to increase even more the precision of the Higgs boson mass and explore in more detail the particle's properties," according to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the agency behind the LHC.
Supersymmetry may also help scientists learn more about dark matter, the invisible force that makes up about 27 percent of all matter in the universe. Researchers have long tried to solve the mystery of dark matter, and hope to get more insight with the help of the LHC.
Scientists around the world are looking forward to the second run of the LHC. They are hopeful that the experimental machine will assist in the resolution of incomplete physics theories.