Thursday, January 6, 2011

Large Hadron Collider generates 'mini Big Bang' (Birth of the universe 're-created')

 The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons.

The scientists working at the enormous machine achieved the unique conditions on 7 November 2010.
The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than at the centre of the Sun.
The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva.
Up until now, the world's highest-energy particle accelerator - which is run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) - has been colliding protons, in a bid to uncover mysteries of the Universe's formation.

Mini Big Bang

A graphic showing the set up of the ALICE experiment including the beam tunnel that passes the protons and ions through the detector

Proton collisions could help spot the elusive Higgs boson particle and signs of new physical laws, such as a framework called supersymmetry.
But for the next four weeks, scientists at the LHC will concentrate on analysing the data obtained from the lead ion collisions.
This way, they hope to learn more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.
One of the accelerator's experiments, ALICE, has been specifically designed to study the smashing together of lead ions, but the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments have also switched to the new mode.

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