Two days ago, the scientists at CERN started celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson – now, there is a countdown clock counting down to the launch of the LHC Run 3, which will run from 2022 to 2025.

The celebrations will culminate in the launch of the Large Hadron Collider’s third run (aka LHC Run 3), which will involve particle collisions at “unprecedented energy levels”.

All the excitement has gone to some people’s heads. Outlandish claims about timeline shifts and vortexes in the sky have taken over certain TikTok accounts – we previously wrote about such theories here.

But what is the CERN countdown clock counting down to exactly? And what is so special about the 2022 events planned at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research?

CERN to restart Large Hadron Collider
Photo by Betul Yuruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

CERN countdown clock 2022: What does it mean?

If you visit the CERN website and scroll down, you’ll find a countdown timer. It’ll be ticking away until 6 pm CEST (Central European Summer Time).

That’s 3 pm GMT, 11 am ET, or 8 am PT. 

In other words, it’s quite soon. It might even have happened already by the time you read this article. Hopefully, it’ll be useful to keep reading anyway.

The CERN countdown clock is counting down to the launch of the Large Hadron Collider’s third run, or Run 3, which will last from 5 July 2022 until the end of 2025.

The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Geneve, Switzerland on January 25th, 2007.
Photo by Lionel FLUSIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

What happened during CERN’s LHC Runs 1 and 2?

CERN published its final report on LHC Run 1 on 18 February 2013, but it actually ended a few days earlier.

They called it an “unqualified success” and “a testament to the painstaking preparation by the ion team”. The five-week period of activity had two objectives, both of which were met.

They were – in case you can’t get your head around the scientific jargon like most of us – to deliver 30 inverse nanobarns with proton-lead collisions and deliver five inverse picobarns of proton-proton collisions at a beam energy of 1.38 TeV. TeV stands for trillion electronvolts. 

The LHC then shut down for two years of maintenance and repairs. It started up again in 2015, with proton beams colliding at 13 TeV. This was, at the time, record-breaking.

Behind The Scenes At CERN The World's Largest Particle Physics Laboratory
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

What will happen when the CERN countdown clock reaches zero?

There are various theories swirling around the Internet regarding black holes and portals to other worlds.

Some TikTokers, and public speakers in general, have taken advantage of the fact many people don’t fully understand what goes on at CERN to peddle conspiracy theories about increased Mandela effects, “timeline shifts” and “vortexes in the sky”.

If you find it unnerving that the ATLAS and CMS detectors at CERN expect to record “more collisions” during Run 3 “than in the two previous LHC physics runs combined”, there are several reasons to rest assured.

First, previous runs did not result in the opening of black holes; second, when the first run began, it was colliding particles at unprecedented energy levels and at unprecedented collision rates – for human activity anyway – and when the second began, that blew the first run out of the water. So it is essentially a question of scale.

Finally, none of those peddling theories about CERN triggering the apocalypse or opening portals between dimensions to allow spiritual beings to pass through have produced any evidence. Nor is there evidence of increases in instances of Mandela effects. The burden of proof lies with those making such claims – which are, as yet, unproven.

Inscryption | Accolades Trailer

Inscryption | Accolades Trailer

You can watch CERN’s third run as it happens via the organisation’s social media channels

The launch of LHC Run 3 will be available to watch online via CERN’s social media channels. You can also tune in by high-quality Eurovision satellite link. Find CERN on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

You can even enjoy live commentary in five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish). This will explain what is happening when it happens.

The broadcast will include a live Q&A session with experts from the particle accelerators. The purpose of the upcoming physics season is to study the properties of the Higgs boson and extend the Standard Model of particle physics.

Tune in via the CERN website – just keep the 2022 countdown clock open on your computer screen and click the link that pops up when it reaches zero.