300TB of Large Hadron Collider data released to the public

25 Apr 2016

Good news for all the budding particle physicists out there, CERN is releasing 300TB of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data, for free, to the public.

Amid discovering things like the Higgs boson and relentless attempts to recreate the ‘Big Bang’, the LHC has become one of physics’ kingpins. The results of its experiments have aided particle physicists no end, bringing together innovative minds to do things like develop remarkably powerful magnets.

Now, the data curated in CERN, attained through the LHC, is available to download. And there is an awful lot of it.

The 300TB of information is made up by more than 100TB of data from proton collisions at 7 electron volts (TeV, which was the power of its original set-up), making up half the data collected at the LHC by the CMS detector in 2011.

This follows a previous release from November 2014, which made available around 27TB of research data collected in 2010. There’s also simulated data, which can play a crucial role in particle physics research, with the creation of the public’s own simulations possible too.

LHC Simulation

Large Hadron Collider

“Members of the CMS Collaboration put in lots of effort and thousands of person-hours each of service work in order to operate the CMS detector and collect these research data for our analysis,” explained Kati Lassila-Perini, a CMS physicist who leads these data preservation efforts.

“However, once we’ve exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly. The benefits are numerous, from inspiring high school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow. And, personally, as CMS’ data-preservation coordinator, this is a crucial part of ensuring the long-term availability of our research data.”

Operating at 13trn TeV, LHC smashes particles together at frightening speed, with its 27km-long ring situated underground on the border between France and Switzerland.

It’s an incredibly expensive and valuable physics project, basically searching for dark matter, which is that thing in space that nobody knows much about.

Scientists believe it makes up pretty much everything around us, but we can’t see it yet. Unsuccessful in the search so far, LHC’s findings have still proved crucial in furthering our knowledge of physics.

Particle Collision in LHC image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic