The Large Hadron Collider

"The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of 7 TeV protons. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the Standard Model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics...

When activated, it is theorized that the collider will produce the elusive Higgs boson, the observation of which could confirm the predictions and "missing links" in the Standard Model of physics and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass. The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would be a significant step in the search for a Grand Unified Theory, which seeks to unify three of the four known fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, leaving out only gravity.

The Higgs boson may also help to explain why gravitation is so weak compared to the other three forces. In addition to the Higgs boson, other theorized novel particles that might be produced, and for which searches are planned, include strangelets, micro black holes, magnetic monopoles and supersymmetric particles.

More pictures here.