Beneath the French-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider will help scientists seek answers to some of the most profound questions about the universe. Beyond this lofty goal, though, particle accelerators can be used for decidedly more down-to-Earth projects -- like fighting cancer, cleaning up industrial waste and even shrink-wrapping your Thanksgiving turkey. More than 17,000 particle accelerators are in operation around the world, used for radial tires, computer chips and 3-D images of molecules, among other tasks.
Over the weekend, Cern ran particle beams through the Large Hadron Collider for the first time since it was shut down last September. After a helium leak caused magnets to overheat, operations at the LHC were suspended for cleanup and repairs. After tests on October 23 and 25, scientists hope to have the LHC running again in full by November.