“We have every reason to be very satisfied with the LHC’s first three years,” said Rolf Heuer, director-general of CERN. “The machine, the experiments, the computing facilities and all infrastructures behaved brilliantly, and we have a major scientific discovery in our pocket.”
During its first three years, the LHC has provided physicists with tons of data, including 100 petabytes of data in just the past few weeks. Researchers have most recently been using the LHC to collide protons and lead ions in an effort to understand the moments just after the big bang.
The LHC will now be shut down until 2015. In the meantime, data from the past three years will continue to be analyzed while LHC maintenance is performed and the machine is upgraded for higher energy running.
“There is a great deal of consolidation work to do on CERN’s whole accelerator complex, as well as the LHC itself,” said Steve Myers, director for Accelerators and Technology at CERN. “We’ll essentially be rebuilding the interconnections between LHC magnets, so when we resume running in 2015, we will be able to operate the machine at its design energy of 7TeV per beam.”