With the warmth of holiday cheer in the air, some physicists decided to hit the pub after a conference in December 2014 and do what many physicists tend to do after work: keep talking about physics. That evening’s topic of conversation: dark energy particles. The chat would lead to a new line of investigation at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Every second, the universe grows a little bigger. Scientists are using the LHC to try to find out why.

Science fiction sometimes borrows from science fact. In the movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the writers blended multiverses and alternate realities with the real-world Large Hadron Collider and the Compact Muon Solenoid. In this 6-minute video, Fermilab’s Don Lincoln gives you the low-down on what is real and what is made up.

If you want to visit the Pasner family farm, you’ll need a truck with four-wheel drive. You’ll need to traverse 4 miles of bumpy dirt road deep into the countryside of Penn Valley, California. But once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by fields of organic onions and garlic, nestled between rolling grassy hills speckled with oak trees. For physicist Jake Pasner, this will always be home.

From The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2018: The largest machine ever built is shutting down for two years of upgrades. Take an immersive tour of the collider and study the remnants of a Higgs particle in augmented reality.

The year 2018 will be remembered as a very eventful year for CMS as a whole and especially for the Fermilab group. Thanks to excellent accelerator performance, the LHC delivered much more proton-proton collision data than anticipated, making the LHC Run 2 a very successful data-taking period. Being at the very core of the detector operations and computing, the Fermilab group was key in ensuring that a large and high quality data set was collected for searches and precision measurements.

A proton describes its final moments in the Large Hadron Collider. During its second run, between 2015 and 2018, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN collided about 16 million billion particle pairs. This 3-minute animation is the story of one of them.

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.