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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Beam Takes Inaugural Lap Around Collider

September 10, 2008

A beam of particles successfully completed its first lap in the multibillion-dollar Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, scientists said.

The nearly $7 billion collider will enable scientists to study, among other things, the nature of particles and explore dark matter — matter that can’t be directly observed but makes up most matter in the universe.

The lap around the collider took less than an hour, The Times of London reported. Scientists had to wait about 50 seconds between the insertion of the first pulse of protons and a flash of light on a computer screen indicating the beam traveled the first leg of the collider’s ring.

The team then guided the proton beam around the entire circuit. About 30 minutes into the experiment, the beam had completed nearly half of the circuit, passing through the first four of the atom-smasher’s eight sectors, The Times reported.

The Large Hadron Collider was constructed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest particle physics laboratories.