Thursday, April 8, 2010

Geneva particle accelerator sets record

The world's largest - and most controversial - atom smasher, based outside Geneva, has set a world record by ramping up its energy output to a level three times higher than ever achieved before.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced on Friday that it had circulated beams of sub-atomic protons in its Large Hadron Collider at 3.5 trillion volts in both directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel which straddles the Swiss-French border.

"This is the highest energy yet achieved in a particle accelerator, and an important step on the way to the start of the LHC research program," a statement issued by CERN said.

The Large Hadron Collider is designed to probe the origins of the universe by recreating the conditions that followed the Big Bang and to learn more about the sub-atomic structure of matter.

"We have crossed an important milestone that showed that we can reach an energy of 3.5 TeV (tera electron volts)," said CERN spokesman James Gillies.

The next step is expected to be announced in several days when CERN starts colliding beams in a new round of research at 7 TeV, or twice Friday's level.

Before the LHC experiment, no particle accelerator had exceeded 0.98 TeV. One TeV is the energy equivalent expended by a flying mosquito.

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5373101,00.html

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