April 23, 2011

CERN Scientists Set Record Intensity With LHC

Scientists reported on Friday that they smashed particles together at a record intensity.

Researchers working at the CERN physics research center reported that they fed beams into the giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with 6 percent more particles per unit than the previous record held by the U.S. Fermilab's Tevatron collider last year.

"There's a lot of excitement at CERN today, and a tangible feeling that we're on the threshold of new discovery," Serge Bertolucci, CERN's Director for Research and Scientific Computing, said in a statement.

Each collision in the LHC's 16.8-mile circular underground tunnel creates a simulation of the Big Bang, which brought the universe into existence 13.7 billion years ago.

The higher the "beam intensity" the more collisions take place and the more material the scientists have to analyze.  

"Beam intensity is the key to the success of the LHC, so this is a very important step," Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, said in a statement.

"Higher intensity means more data, and more data means greater discovery potential."

"There is a tangible feeling that we are on the threshold of new discovery," said Bertolucci.

CERN spokesman James Gillies said that as the CERN physicists and engineers ramped up the intensity over the past week, they gathered more information than in nine months of LHC running in 2010.

Cosmologists say that the CERN experiments may shed light on emerging new theories suggesting the known universe is only part of a system of many, invisible to each other and with no means of inter-communication.


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