Scientists perform the LHC switch-on phase early today at the CERN control center.
Scientists early Wednesday successfully sent the first particle beams around the Large Hadron Collider’s 17-mile underground chamber, constituting their first major step toward replicating “Big Bang” conditions.
Groups of scientists from around the world broke into applause when the telltale blips of success appeared on computer screens at CERN’s Geneva control center. The collider cost about $8 billion and is lauded as the most complex machine humans have built. Its purpose is to help physicists gain a better understanding of the origins of the universe.
Critics have voiced fears that the collider could create black holes capable of sucking in the entire Earth.
“The worries that scientists had today were nothing to do with being swallowed up by black holes and everything to do with technical hitches or electronic failure,” said physicist Jim al-Khalili at the University of Surrey. “Now after a collective sigh of relief, the real fun starts. No matter what we find, we will be unlocking the secrets of the universe.”
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