Large Hadron Collider to be turned back on after 3 years in hunt for dark matter

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The world's most powerful particle accelerator is about to turn back on following a three-year hiatus.

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, was closed down for improvements and updates back in December 2018, but faced some delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But now the machine is ready to be switched back on between April 22 and April 24, a CERN representative told

The third run is said to be following the success of Run 1 (2009-2013) and Run 2 (2015-2018), to explore mysterious phenomena like dark matter, which scientists are yet to prove exists.

The powerful experiment functions by accelerating particles like protons to almost reach the speed of light, at which speeds the particles collide with one another.

The collider generates hundreds of millions of particle collisions every second making it the most powerful accelerator in the world.

The latest run is expected to last until 2024, at which point it will shut down for more upgrades.

These updates will narrow the colliders' proton beams to increase the number of collisions leading to its planned name change to "High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider" by 2028.

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Back in 2008 when the £5 billion project was first revealed, scientists preparing for the 'switch on' received death threats from critics who fear it could destroy the Earth.

The threatening emails and worried phone calls from members of the public, who fear it could create a devastating black hole.

Scientists were attempting to recreate the conditions that existed during the first billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University responded angrily to those who predicted destruction, telling the Telegraph: "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a t***."

The cost of the LHC is mainly shared by CERN's 20 European member states, including Britain.

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Six 'observer' nations, including the US, Russia and Japan, also make significant contributions.

CERN estimates the total cost of the project to be 10 billion Swiss francs, or £5 billion. The material cost alone is put at £2.6 billion.

Britain's direct contribution to the LHC each year is £34 million, according to Mail Online.

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