Miniature versions of the Big Bang which gave birth to the universe almost 14 billion years ago have been created within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the giant machine probing the nature of matter near Geneva. British scientists working on the LHC's "Alice" (a large ion collider experiment) detector were celebrating the achievement, which opens up a new era in particle physics research. The "mini bangs" were produced by smashing together lead ions—atoms of lead which have been stripped of their electrons—at enormous speeds.