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The Large Hadron Collider is smashing protons again after a three-year hiatus

It's just a start, however: The beams contained a relatively small number of protons and circulated at 450 billion electronvolts. The LHC team will ramp up the energy and intensity of the beams until the accelerator can perform collisions at a record energy of 13.6 trillion electronvolts.

Mike Lamont, CERN's Director for Accelerators and Technology, said:

"The machines and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second long shutdown of CERN's accelerator complex. The LHC itself has undergone an extensive consolidation programme and will now operate at an even higher energy and, thanks to major improvements in the injector complex, it will deliver significantly more data to the upgraded LHC experiments."

Research teams using the accelerator for their studies are expecting to be able to perform a lot more collisions — one, in particular, is expecting a 50 times increase — thanks to the upgrade. The more powerful LHC will allow scientists to study the Higgs boson more closely and to resume their hunt for a particle that proves the existence of dark matter with a more capable tool at hand. 

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