CERN's Large Hadron Collider prepares for upgrade

3 December 2018

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was switched off this morning ahead of a planned two-year-long upgrade, bringing to a conclusion the very successful second run of the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

The LHC itself, CERN’s accelerator complex and the LHC experiments will now undergo major renovations and improvements in preparation for the next LHC run starting in 2021, and for the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project which is due to start after 2025 and will allow the LHC to produce even more data.

The LHC performed beyond expectations during its second run, which started in 2015, by producing five times more data than the first run. This time round, the LHC produced approximately 16 million-billion proton-proton collisions, with more than 300 petabytes of data now permanently archived – the equivalent of 1,000 years of 24/7 video streaming.

Analysing this data has helped to expand our knowledge of fundamental physics and of the Universe. In particular, the LHC has been helping to understand the Higgs boson, which was confirmed at CERN in 2012, to see if it behaves in accordance with the Standard Model – the theory that describes our best understanding of elementary particles.

“In addition to many other beautiful results, over the past few years the LHC experiments have made tremendous progress in the understanding of the properties of the Higgs boson,” said Dr Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General. “The Higgs boson is a special particle, very different from the other elementary particles observed so far; its properties may give us useful indications about the physics beyond the Standard Model.”

To find out more about the upgrade, read the article on the CERN website.


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, co-ordinates and manages the UK’s involvement and subscription with CERN. The UK’s influence on both CERN Council and CERN Finance Committee is co-ordinated through the UK Committee on CERN (UKCC).

UK membership of CERN gives our physicists and engineers access to the experiments and allows UK industry to bid for contracts, UK nationals to compete for jobs and research positions at CERN, and UK schools and teachers to visit. UK scientists hold many key roles at CERN. Firms in the UK win contracts for work at CERN worth millions of pounds each year. The impact of winning contracts is often even greater as it enables companies to win business elsewhere.

Last updated: 03 December 2018

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