Large Hadron Collider Breaks Energy Record—By 300%
The Large Hadron Collider set a new energy record this morning. In doing so, the "big bang machine" took an important step toward full-power operation.
At 5:20 a.m., local time, in Geneva, Switzerland, physicists sent two proton beams racing around the Large Hadron Collider's oval-shaped, 17-mile-long (27-kilometer-long) underground tunnel.
Each beam packed a powerful 3.5-trillion-electron-volt (TeV) punch—the highest energy yet achieved in a particle accelerator, or atom smasher. (Learn more about atom smashers.)
The Large Hadron Collider had also set the previous record. Last December the LHC smashed two 1.18-TeV beams to create a 2.36-TeV collision. (See "LHC Gets First Results; Step Toward 'God Particle'?")
The two 3.5-TeV beams will eventually be smashed together to create a whopping 7-TeV energy collision—half the collider's maximum energy level.
"We're all hoping [the collision] will happen in the next couple of weeks," said James Gillies, a spokesperson for the