The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator complex intended to collide opposing beams of 7 TeV protons built by CERN. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the standard model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics. This model is known to break down at a certain high energy level.
The LHC has thousands of magnets which will be maintained in this frigid condition using liquid helium. The magnets are arranged in a ring that runs for 27km through the giant tunnel.
Once the LHC is operational, two particle beams - usually consisting of protons accelerated to high energies - will be fired down pipes running through the magnets.
These beams will then travel in opposite directions around the main ring at close to the speed of light.
At allotted points along the tunnel, the beams will cross paths, smashing into one another with cataclysmic force. Scientists hope to see new particles in the debris of these collisions, revealing fundamental new insights into the nature of the cosmos and how it came into being.
The most powerful physics experiment ever built, the LHC will re-create the conditions just after the Big Bang.
Concerns have been raised regarding the safety of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the grounds that high-energy particle collisions performed in the LHC might produce dangerous phenomena, including micro black holes, strangelets, vacuum bubbles and magnetic monopoles.
In response to these concerns, the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists, performed a safety analysis of the LHC and concluded in a report published in 2003 that there is "no basis for any conceivable threat".
In 2008, drawing from new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) published a report updating the 2003 safety review, in which they reaffirmed and extended its conclusions that LHC particle collisions present no danger.