1 Apr 2010

Hadron Collider scientists celebrate smashing success

6:56 am on 1 April 2010

Scientists at the world's largest particle accelerator have successfully collided beams of protons at the highest energy levels seen to date.

The Large Hadron Collider, housed in a 27km-long tunnel under the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, has produced particle collisions 3.5 times higher than previously achieved.

This marks the beginning of work that could lead to the discovery of fundamental new physics, the BBC reports.

But researchers caution the data gathered from the sub-atomic impacts will take time to evaluate and the public should not expect immediate results.

There was cheering and applause in the control room as scientists watched the first collisions at a rate of 50 per second and a combined energy of 7 trillion electronvolts (TeV).

Scientists hope the studies will bring insights into the nature of the cosmos and how it came into being.

The Large Hadron Collider down shortly after its opening in 2008 but, since coming back online late last year, has gradually been ramping up operations.

At the end of the experimental period, the Large Hadron Collider will be shut down for maintenance for up to a year. When it re-opens, it will attempt to create 14 TeV electronvolt events.