It took 16 years and $10 billion dollars, but on the day the Large Hadron Collider was supposed to begin trying to cross its high energy proton beams it didn’t take very long at all for researchers to create the highest-energy particle collisions ever witnessed in an experimental setting. At just after 1 p.m. local time beneath the French-Swiss border, CERN scientists smashed two proton beams moving at 99 percent of the speed of light together at total energies of 7 trillion electron volts.
The Large Hadron Collider has been coming along in fits and starts, but the European Organization for Nuclear Research plans to begin colliding the highest energy proton beams ever conjured tomorrow, heralding a new era of science and discovery. If it works, that is.
This morning in Switzerland, the Large Hadron Collider successfully ramped its twin proton beams up to 3.5 TeV for the first time. This is the highest energy a particle accelerator has ever achieved. The next step: collide the two beams, at a combined energy of 7 TeV.
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.
Much beset by magnet quenches, birds, bread, black holes, evil time travelers, and fools, the Large Hadron Collider successfully came online and orbited a proton beam today!
Photographs of the triumphant moment are within.
A bird dropping a baguette temporarily shut down the $5 billion Large Hadron Collider earlier this month. But scientists have a good feeling about the restart, which is slated for Friday, the The Guardian reports.
The Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, just cannot catch a break. First, a coolant leak destroyed some of the magnets that guide the energy beam. Then LHC officials postponed the restart of the machine to add additional safety features.
By Carina StorrsPosted 10.28.2009 at 1:30 pm 25 Comments
Before scientists can put the Large Hadron Collider back to work this month solving the mysteries of particle physics, the LHC's engineers face critical repairs to the $5-billion device. First up: Fix the 53 superconducting magnets trashed in September 2008 when a power cable broke, causing the magnets to warm above their –458˚F operating temperature and lose conductivity, or "quench." Then pipes for helium coolant melted, further damaging the magnets.
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.