The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing beams of protons or lead ions, each moving at approximately 99.999999% of the speed of light.
The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesised Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry. 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, it lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border between the Jura Mountains and the Alps near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
On 10 September 2008, the proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring of the LHC for the first time. On 19 September 2008, the operations were halted due to a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets. The LHC will not be operational again until the summer of 2009.
The LHC was officially inaugurated on 21 October 2008, in the presence of political leaders, science ministers from CERN's 20 Member States, CERN officials, and members of the worldwide scientific community.
The total cost of the project is expected to be %u20AC3.2%u20136.4 billion. The construction of LHC was approved in 1995 with a budget of 2.6 billion Swiss francs (%u20AC1.6 billion), with another 210 million francs (%u20AC140 million) towards the cost of the experiments. However, cost over-runs, estimated in a major review in 2001 at around 480 million francs (%u20AC300 million) for the accelerator, and 50 million francs (%u20AC30 million) for the experiments, along with a reduction in CERN's budget, pushed the completion date from 2005 to April 2007. The superconducting magnets were responsible for 180 million francs (%u20AC120 million) of the cost increase. There were also engineering difficulties encountered while building the underground cavern for the Compact Muon Solenoid, in part due to faulty parts loaned to CERN by fellow laboratories Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and KEK.
David King, the former Chief Scientific Officer for the United Kingdom, has criticised the LHC for taking a higher priority for funds than solving the Earth's major challenges; principally climate change, but also population growth and poverty in Africa.
The upcoming experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have sparked fears among the public that the LHC particle collisions might produce doomsday phenomena, involving the production of stable microscopic black holes or the creation of hypothetical particles called strangelets.
People have also had depression even commiting suicide fearing the end of the world.