Off Beat Stories

Nov 23, 2009 12:01 PM by Associated Press

Big Bang atom smasher sends beams in two directions

The world's largest atom smasher is back in action after more than a year of repairs, and may be about to make big news.

Officials in Switzerland say the Large Hadron Collider is circulating beams of protons in opposite directions, with the aim of recreating conditions that existed milliseconds after the so-called Big Bang, which marked the creation of the universe billions of years ago.

Officials say the protons have been traveling today at almost the speed of light, and that actual proton collisions could begin within the next 10 days. A spokesman for the Atlas experiment says today's initial circulation that was conducted 300 feet underground went much faster than expected.

The collider had been out of action since being heavily damaged by an electrical fault nine days after it was first started in September 2008.


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