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“Big Bang Machine” back on the road to discover “God Particle”

December 5, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), popularly known as the “Big Bang Machine”, has taken its first step toward finding the “God Particle”, as the first scientific results from the recently restarted particle accelerator have been announced.

The LHC, which is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres in circumference, as much as 175 metres (570 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

According to a report in National Geographic News, during the first collisions of the LHC’s twin beams of protons, a machine called ‘A Large Ion Collider Experiment’, or ALICE, collected the results from a proton-proton smashup.

Colliders such as the LHC are designed to crash such particles together so that they break apart into even more basic components, offering scientists a glimpse of the fundamental building blocks of matter.

For the LHC’s first result, ALICE found that a proton-proton collision recorded on November 23 created the precise ratio of matter and antimatter particles predicted from theory.

The collision occurred at the lowest energy possible in the LHC – each beam had just 450 billion electron volts (GeV), creating a 900 GeV collision.

“Collisions at 900 GeV have only been measured with protons and antiprotons. They’ve never been measured with two protons,” said David Evans, a physicist at the UK’s University of Birmingham and head of the ALICE project.

The results show “that we understand our detector, so when we go to higher-energy collisions where we don’t know what the answers should be, we can better trust our results,” Evans said.

At the LHC’s current rate of activity, higher-energy collisions should occur before February 2010 and perhaps even before Christmas, according to Evans.

The LHC is capable of collisions at 14 trillion electron volts (TeV), but some of the machine’s most extraordinary discoveries could be made at much lower energy levels.

For example, scientists predict that the long-sought Higgs boson, sometimes called the God particle, could be discovered in the one to three TeV range.

“If we go to higher energies in February, there is a good chance the Higgs will be found,” Evans said. (ANI)

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