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The big news story in high-energy physics at the moment is the news that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is finally colliding protons at something close to the energy it was designed for. This comes after a couple of years of operation at half-the intended energy, after some components failed on the initial start-up, followed by a couple of years of down time as they pulled everything apart and replaced the faulty connections.

I am very much not a particle physicist, but given the wide interest in the LHC generally, I figured it would be worth a post on a few of the things people might be wondering about as the LHC begins colliding protons at 13 TeV. This will skew toward the basic side, both because I am not a particle physicist, but also because a lot of the other stories you read won’t answer some of the really basic questions that come up when talking about this stuff. So, here are some things to help non-physicists interpret the excited chattering of your physicist friends over the next day or two.

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