Date set for Large Hadron Collider launch

Date set for Large Hadron Collider launch

Summary: What should be the world's most powerful particle accelerator will be switched on in just over a month's time

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

A date has finally been announced for the switching on of the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider.

The LHC is located in a 27km-long circular tunnel that lies beneath the Franco-Swiss border. The first attempt to circulate a beam of particles around the tunnel will take place on 10 September, according to a Thursday statement by the LHC's builders, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern). This event will follow a long commissioning process that has seen the structure cooled down to 1.9° above absolute zero (-271°C).

"We're finishing a marathon with a sprint," said LHC project leader Lyn Evans. "It's been a long haul, and we're all eager to get the LHC research programme underway."

The particle accelerator was designed primarily as an attempt to produce the 'Higgs boson' — a hypothetical particle whose observation would help confirm some of the predictions in the Standard Model of physics. Other currently theoretical particles may also be observed for the first time, including microscopic black holes — some people have theorised that this side of the project could go wrong with Earth-threatening results, a fear that Cern has comprehensively and repeatedly denied.

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This weekend, the first synchronisation test between the LHC and another machine, the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) accelerator, will take place. A second test will take place in the coming weeks. According to Cern, the timing between the two machines "has to be accurate to within a fraction of a nanosecond".

If successful, the LHC will produce beams that are seven times more energetic than any previous particle accelerator. By 2010, Cern hopes to have the machine producing beams that are even more intense, at around 30 times the energy of previous machines.

Topic: Emerging Tech

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • End of the world?

    I think that this is a bad idea considering the risks, i don't understand what right one group of people has to decide fate of the planet.
    M. Wade South Wales
  • The Large Hadron Rap

    Excellent! I've been waiting for an excuse for some time to share this video, the latest in attempts to explain tech through the medium of rap. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the <a href="">Large Hadron Rap</a>:
    Karen Friar
  • Yeah!

    Karen, that's just too good.

  • the end of the world?

    yeah thats great, really flashy, doesn't change the fact that the machine is unsafe, scientist do not know enough about black holes to be able to test a machine like that without even the slightest idea about what might happen. for all they know this machine might not be able to contain what they create.
  • hadron rog

    it s a fair comment vorne....their still seems to be an element of all or nothing in the scientific community....lets hope they dont get us all.
    roger andre