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Updated: December 14, 2009 19:53 IST

Atom smasher ramps up collisions before year end

PTI
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German Rolf-Dieter Heuer, right, Director General of CERN, and Steve Myers, left, CERN's Director for Accelerators and Technology, seen, during a press conference on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) restart at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory) in Meyrin, near Geneva. Photo: AP.
German Rolf-Dieter Heuer, right, Director General of CERN, and Steve Myers, left, CERN's Director for Accelerators and Technology, seen, during a press conference on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) restart at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory) in Meyrin, near Geneva. Photo: AP.

Geneva: The world’s largest atom smasher produced 50,000 proton collisions at the highest energy level ever recorded, the operators said today.

The weekend run demonstrated how well the Large Hadron Collider is working in preparation for going to even higher energy level next year for experiments to delve further into the makeup of matter, said Rolf Heuer, director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN.

The new USD 10 billion machine, which has made a nearly flawless comeback after being heavily damaged during a start-up collapse a year ago, was built to examine suspected phenomena such as dark matter, antimatter and ultimately the creation of the universe billions of years ago, which many theorize occurred as a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.

“After only three weeks of running it almost felt like routine operation in the CERN control centre,” said Mr. Heuer.

The LHC provided well over 1 million lower—energy collisions to each of the major “experiments” —— massive detectors in cathedral—sized rooms along the 27—kilometer circular accelerator in a tunnel 100 meters underground near Geneva, on the Swiss—French border.

The low energy collisions enabled operators to calibrate the machine and detectors with showers of particles already discovered so that there will be a solid basis for understanding what happens when higher energy experiments start in the first half of next year.

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