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Smashing! Student Builds Replica Large Hadron Collider Out of Legos

A particle physics student has used his downtime to build a Lego model of the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Nathan Readioff's design uses existing Lego pieces to replicate all four elements of the LHC — known as ATLAS, ALICE, CMS and LHCb — and uses cutaway walls to reveal all of the major subsystems. He also wrote step-by-step guides to making the miniatures and has now submitted his models to the Lego Ideas website, where ideas from members of the public that get more than 10,000 votes are considered by Lego for future production.

"I have always been a Lego fan," Readioff said in a statement from Liverpool University, where he is in the third year of his Ph.D. "I had in mind Lego's basic principles of encouraging imagination and play through building bricks." The LHC in Geneva allows scientists to test the predictions of different theories of physics. Its 27-kilometer (16-mile) ring is buried 100 meters (328 feet) below the French and Swiss countryside.

It's not the first time someone has used Legos to build a model of the LHC, or at least parts of it. Sascha Hehlhase, a postdoc at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and University of Washington physics students each separately used Lego blocks to assemble diminutive replicas of the the ATLAS particle detector.

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— Reuters and NBC News staff