Fascinating facts

Taking a closer look at LHC

Taken from "LHC the Guide" Communication Group

January 2008 CERN -Brochure 2008-001-Eng

Fact 1) When the 27 km long circular tunnel was excavated, between Lake Geneva and the Jura mountain range, the two ends met up to within 1 cm.

Fact 2) Each of the 6300 superconducting filaments of niobium– titanium in the cable produced for the LHC is about 0.006 mm thick, about 10 times thinner than a normal human hair.

Fact 3) If you added all the filaments together they would stretch to the Sun and back five times with enough left over for a few trips to the Moon.

Fact 4) The central part of the LHC will be the world’s largest fridge. At a temperature colder than deep outer space, it will contain iron, steel and the all important superconducting coils.

Fact 5) The pressure in the beam pipes of the LHC will be about ten times lower than on the Moon. This is an ultrahigh vacuum

Fact 6) Protons at full energy in the LHC will be travelling at 0.999999991 times the speed of light. Each proton will go round the 27 km ring more than 11 000 times a second.

Fact 7) At full energy, each of the two proton beams in the LHC will have a total energy equivalent to a 400 t train (like the French TGV) travelling at 200 km/h. This is enough energy to melt 500 kg of copper.

Fact 8) The Sun never sets on the ATLAS collaboration. Scientists working on the experiment come from every continent in the world, except Antarctica.

Fact 9) The CMS magnet system contains about 10 000 t of iron, which is more iron than in the Eiffel Tower.

Fact 10) The data recorded by each of the big experiments at the LHC will be enough to fill around 100000 DVDs every year.


Xabier Cid Vidal, PhD in experimental Particle Physics for Santiago University (USC). Research Fellow in experimental Particle Physics at CERN from January 2013 to Decembre 2015. He was until 2022 linked to the Department of Particle Physics of the USC as a "Juan de La Cierva", "Ramon y Cajal" fellow (Spanish Postdoctoral Senior Grants), and Associate Professor. Since 2023 is Senior Lecturer in that Department.(ORCID).

Ramon Cid Manzano, until his retirement in 2020 was secondary school Physics Teacher at IES de SAR (Santiago - Spain), and part-time Lecturer (Profesor Asociado) in Faculty of Education at the University of Santiago (Spain). He has a Degree in Physics and a Degree in Chemistry, and he is PhD for Santiago University (USC) (ORCID).



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 For the bibliography used when writing this Section please go to the References Section

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