The world’s biggest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, was restarted today by operators in preparation for experiments probing the secrets of the universe. “After a cautious trial period, Cern (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) plans to ramp up the energy of the proton beams travelling around the 17-mile tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border at Geneva to unprecedented levels – and start record-setting collisions of protons by late March. The restart follows a two and a half month winter shutdown during which scientists made improvements and checked out the smasher’s ability to collide protons at energies three times greater than has ever been achieved previously. The new collisions are expected to shatter the subatomic particles and reveal still smaller fragments and forces than previously achieved on any collider, including the previous record-holder – the Tevatron at Fermilab outside Chicago. The Large Hadron Collider 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 an explosion known as the Big Bang. The restart follows successful trial runs late last year when Cern showed that it had made a big comeback from its initial 10 September, 2008, start-up with great fanfare.”
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