The LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will perform precision measurements of CP violating processes and rare decays of B mesons and other hadrons containing b or c quarks. Of particular interest are observables that exhibit high sensitivity to New Physics
through possible contributions from new heavy particles in loop diagrams. By searching for New Physics indirectly by studying the effect of virtual particles in internal loops, LHCb will extend the discovery potential to masses far in excess of those accessible in direct searches at the LHC.
In this contribution, a brief overview is given of the LHCb performance and running experience from the first year of LHC operation, some early physics results are presented, and the discovery potential in selected key channels is illustrated. More detailed accounts of the detector performance and of specific physics topics are given in several other LHCb contributions to these proceedings.