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CERN Large Hadron Collider

Why is the Large Hadron Collider as large as it is?  I heard today that the actual accelerator portion is only 40 Meters long, the rest is (mostly) magnets that steer the particles, so why does the accelerator need to be 17 miles in circumference?  Does making it larger provide any advantages?


(asked Rick)


  1. I can imagine that it provides more room for a variety of different detectors not to mention that at the speed of light even with it being 17 miles long the particles still travel around it at over 11,000 times a second. That’s my best guess can you imagine trying to pinpoint the moment of collision than capture if it was only a mile?!?

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