Relaunch of Large Hadron Collider ‘enormous success’

THE world’s biggest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), began firing beams of protons in opposite directions yesterday, with scientists describing initial progress as an “enormous success”.

The relaunch of the €3.9 billion collider, which was out of action for 14 months, had been a success, experts at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said.

“The first three days have been in my opinion an enormous success, we’ve shown that the LHC machine is in superb condition from the beam quality viewpoint,” said Steve Myers, CERN accelerators and technology director.

“The breaking news is that we have two beams circulating simultaneously in the LHC, that just happened three-quarters of an hour ago,” he told a press briefing.

The Large Hadron Collider, built in a 27km tunnel straddling the Franco- Swiss border near Geneva, was started with great fanfare in September 2008, but shut down nine days later when a failure in an electrical connection caused serious damage.

On Friday, scientists injected the first sub-atomic particles back into the collider and got the particle beams circulating in the accelerator again.

With two beams now circulating at the same time, the machine is poised for its first collisions.

The collisions should generate masses of data that could unlock mysteries about the creation of the universe and the fundamental nature of matter.

The massive experiment aims to resolve physics enigmas such as an explanation for “dark matter” and “dark energy” that account for 96% of the cosmos and whether other dimensions exist parallel to our own.

The Holy Grail will be finding a theorised component called the Higgs boson, which would explain how particles acquire mass. The elusive Higgs has been dubbed the “God particle”.

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