Good News from the Large Hadron Collider

Ladies and gentlemen, we have (hot, natch) particle-on-particle action. If the time-traveling, LHC-hating Higgs boson particles are really out there, they don't have a whole lot of time to get together another baked goods-based offensive.

The first protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider today at CERN outside Geneva, Switzerland. These first collisions are another milestone on the way to the ultimate goal: high-energy collisions of protons in the center of the LHC experiments. They follow a weekend of rapid progress for the LHC. After more than one year of repairs, on Friday evening, November 20, beams were once again circulating in the collider. Over the weekend, the LHC team carefully studied the beams one at a time. Today at approximately 1:30 local time, two beams circulated at the same time for the first time in the LHC. As the two circulating beams passed through each other, protons from each beam hit one another, and the resulting spray of particles registered in the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb detectors.

The first two protons collided at the relatively low energies with which they were injected into the LHC, 450 GeV each. Over the next few months, LHC scientists will raise the beam energy, aiming for collisions at the world-record energy of 3.5 TeV per beam in early 2010. With these high-energy collisions, the teams on the LHC experiments will embark on their quest to solve some of the mysteries of the universe.

Symmetry magazine, First Particles Collide in the Large Hadron Collider