During the last four years, LHC scientists have filled in gaps in our knowledge and tested the boundaries of the Standard Model. Since the start of Run II in March 2015, they’ve recorded an incredible amount of data —five times more than the LHC produced in Run I. The accelerator produced approximately 16 million billion proton-proton collisions — about one collision for every ant currently living on Earth.
During the short heavy-ion run at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, every moment counts. As one scientist puts it, experimenters have “four weeks to collect all the data we will use for the next three years.” The data arising from LHC’s collisions of heavy nuclei, such as lead, will be used to study the properties of a very hot and dense subatomic material called the quark-gluon plasma.