The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
The experiments currently being done in the LHC involve beams of protons being accelerated to 99% the speed of light and then collided with each other.
These collisions "smash" the protons into the even smaller pieces from which they and all other sub-atomic particles are, ultimately, composed.
Our best theories at the moment about the origin of the Universe and how all the "stuff" around us became "stuff" at all, involve the relationship between particles and fields, as in electrons / electro-magnetism or photons / light.
Our discoveries so far, including those by Einstein, have resulted in something called the Standard Model, but this still cannot explain "mass", or why "stuff" is "stuff", unless we can involve the existence of another, previously-unknown and undetected energy field through space, disturbances in which both create and transfer mass.
Detecting a field our technology has so far missed (if it exists) would be nigh on impossible; however, we can accelerate and record data on sub-atomic particles now, and the LHC scientists reckon that by colliding enough protons, traces of the particle (the Higgs particle) may be found in the tracks left behind - a bit like smashing enough pots and, if there is a potter, you will eventually find a fingerprint or two.
We will also know that "empty space" is not an empty vacuum at all, but something far more interesting!