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High-Energy Proton Accelerator Opens New Era in Particle Physics

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has built the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the highest and the largest energy particle accelerator in the world.

CERN Control Center

This 17-mile loop collider in the Franco-Swiss border region was developed to enable scientists to address some of the most basic issues in physics. The first beam was fired through the collider during September 2008 and the LHC research program commenced formally last week. The scientists transmitted particles through the LHC. These particles smashed against each other with a 7 Tera electron volts (TeV) total force, which is equivalent to an energy level that is three-and-a-half times more than what was achieved using any other particle accelerator.

The LHC is likely to keep functioning during the next 18–24 months, generating data that physicists hope will reveal insights into dark matter, new forces and new particles, including the elusive Higgs boson.

A member of the team operating one of the detectors at the LHC and MIT’s assistant professor of physics, Markus Klute, described the excitement at the control center as collisions began. Scientists operating and monitoring the trigger systems as well as the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector thronged the CMS control center on March 30 evening. After two unsuccessful attempts, the third attempt triggered a collision of protons, which was then displayed in the control room and later the reconstructed data was used to discuss the initial results.

A new era has commenced in the particle physics domain with this initial high-energy collision event. During the next two years the LHC will be able to deliver sufficient collisions at 7 TeV to facilitate considerable advances in various research areas.

Source: http://www.cern.ch

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