First beam for Large Hadron Collider, world's mightiest particle accelerator
An international collaboration of scientists today sent the first beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light around the 17-mile-long underground circular path of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator, located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The scientists also accelerated a second beam of protons through the path in the opposite direction, the goal being head-on collisions of protons that can offer clues to the origin of mass and new forces and particles in the universe. The second beam made one turn around the LHC.
Celebrations across the United States and around the world mark the LHC's first circulating beams, an occasion more than 15 years in the making. An estimated 10,000 people from 60 countries have helped design and build the accelerator and its massive particle detectors, including more than 1,700 scientists, engineers, students and technicians from 94 U.S. universities and laboratories supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.
UCR faculty Robert Clare, John Ellison, J. William Gary, Gail Hanson and Stephen Wimpenny, along with postdoctoral scientists and graduate students are involved in the LHC's Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, a large particle-capturing detector whose discoveries are expected to help answer questions such as: Are there undiscovered principles of nature? What is the origin of mass? Do extra dimensions exist? What is dark matter? How can we solve the mystery of dark energy? And how did the universe come to be?
"After many years of preparation, particle physics is taking a huge step towards understanding whether our theories about the origin of mass are correct and whether there is new physics that can explain dark matter and help us understand dark energy and the origin of the universe," said Hanson, a distinguished professor of physics, who currently is at CERN. "Particle physicists from UCR have been involved in the CMS experiment since its beginning, and have been working to construct and commission parts of the detector. They will soon be able to carry out the measurements and make the discoveries that have been dreamed of for so long."
It will take about a month for scientists to align the proton beams traveling in opposite directions in the LHC so that proton-proton collisions are generated. The LHC will create almost a billion such collisions per second at an energy of 14 trillion electron volts. These collisions will take place at four points around its 17-mile ring, where the four main LHC experiments, including CMS, are located.
"This is an extremely important moment," said Clare, a professor of physics. "We are now on the verge of making hopefully many discoveries over the next years in our understanding of particle physics and how the universe works. For the first time in a long time, we will be breaking new ground. We may discover the Higgs boson; we may discover supersymmetry. We may discover completely new and unexpected phenomena, which would be by far the most exciting prospect."
UCR postdoctoral researchers and students doing work related to the CMS experiment are: Avdhesh Chandra, Feng Liu, John Babb (currently at CERN), Geng-yuan "Greg" Jeng (currently at CERN), Shih-chuan "Kevin" Kao (currently at CERN), Hongliang Liu, Arun Luthra, Harold Nguyen, Robert Stringer (currently at CERN), Jared Sturdy (currently at CERN), Rachel Wilken, and Manatosh "Milton" Bose.
"As the largest and most powerful particle accelerator on Earth, the LHC represents a monumental technical achievement," said U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach, who is a former UCR Chancellor. "I congratulate the world's scientists and engineers who have made contributions to the construction of the accelerator for reaching this milestone. We now eagerly await the results that will emerge from operation of this extraordinary machine."
Articles on the same topic
- First beam for Large Hadron ColliderWed, 10 Sep 2008, 10:19:16 EDT
- Boston physicists celebrate first beam for Large Hadron ColliderWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:56:40 EDT
- Iowa State scientists, students contribute to world's biggest science experimentMon, 8 Sep 2008, 14:07:47 EDT
- MIT Awaits Data From World's Biggest Physics Experimentfrom Science DailyFri, 12 Sep 2008, 13:21:24 EDT
- Science Weekly Extra podcast: The Large Hadron Collider is switched on at Cernfrom The Guardian - ScienceFri, 12 Sep 2008, 12:21:12 EDT
- Protons and Champagne Mix as New Particle Collider Is Revved Upfrom NY Times ScienceThu, 11 Sep 2008, 19:49:04 EDT
- U.Va. Physicists Participate in Large Hadron Collider Projectfrom University of VirginiaThu, 11 Sep 2008, 5:07:13 EDT
- MIT awaits world's biggest physics experimentfrom MIT ResearchWed, 10 Sep 2008, 18:56:06 EDT
- Large Hadron Collider Rap Video Is a Hitfrom National GeographicWed, 10 Sep 2008, 16:14:12 EDT
- Ramping Up The Large Hadron Colliderfrom C&ENWed, 10 Sep 2008, 15:49:35 EDT
- ATLAS detector seeks to illuminate universe’s mysteriesfrom Harvard ScienceWed, 10 Sep 2008, 14:56:11 EDT
- Large Hadron Collider comes to lifefrom The Guardian - ScienceWed, 10 Sep 2008, 12:42:22 EDT
- First beam for Large Hadron Colliderfrom Science BlogWed, 10 Sep 2008, 12:30:13 EDT
- Global computer network behind the Big Bang probefrom PhysorgWed, 10 Sep 2008, 12:29:29 EDT
- First Beam For Large Hadron Colliderfrom Science DailyWed, 10 Sep 2008, 10:36:52 EDT
- LHC milestone day gets off to fast startfrom Physics WorldWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:52:56 EDT
- Biggest ‘Big Bang Machine’ switched onfrom MSNBC: ScienceWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:51:19 EDT
- Will the Large Hadron Collider Destroy Earth?from Live ScienceWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:51:17 EDT
- Biggest Atom Smasher to Fire Up Wednesdayfrom National GeographicWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:51:00 EDT
- First beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN successfully steeredfrom Science CentricWed, 10 Sep 2008, 9:47:54 EDT
- Iowa State researchers contribute to world's biggest science experimentfrom Science CentricTue, 9 Sep 2008, 13:42:14 EDT
- Boon or doom? Collider stirs debatefrom MSNBC: ScienceTue, 9 Sep 2008, 11:14:57 EDT
- Large Hadron Collider switch-on fears are completely unfoundedfrom Science CentricMon, 8 Sep 2008, 11:35:15 EDT
- Next Stop: The Fourth Dimension, With Large Hadron Collider Experimentsfrom Science DailyMon, 8 Sep 2008, 1:28:21 EDT
- The question: Will the world end on Wednesday when the Large Hadron Collider is switched on?from The Guardian - ScienceSun, 7 Sep 2008, 19:29:27 EDT
- Poll: Is the end of the world nigh?from The Guardian - ScienceFri, 5 Sep 2008, 9:42:23 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Findings show gender, not race, a factor in college engineering dropouts
- Scientists observe first signs of healing in the Antarctic ozone layer
- Fruit flies adjust to sudden drops in temperature; just keep buzzing about the fruit bowl
- In times of great famine, microalgae digest themselves
- Pea plants demonstrate ability to 'gamble' -- a first in plants
- Lost hormone is found in starfish
- Crucial peatlands carbon-sink vulnerable to rising sea levels
- Universe becoming cleaner as cosmic dust gets mopped up by stars, astronomers reveal
- Protein associated with improved survival in some breast cancer patients
- Night-time light pollution causes spring to come early
- How China can ramp up wind power
- 'Coral zombies' may spell doom for coral reefs around world
- UMMS scientists use CRISPR to discover Zika and dengue weaknesses
- Stanford researchers find new ways to make clean hydrogen and rechargable zinc batteries
- Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel