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Professor Jon Butterworth of University College London heads up the UK's involvement in the Atlas detector. "This is the biggest high of my career so far," he told ZDNet.co.uk after the first successful beam circulation in the LHC, which took just under an hour to complete. "I didn't think they'd do it so quickly and smoothly."
"This is the first time [the LHC] has functioned as a single machine," Butterworth noted. He added that, although no new science as such came from Wednesday's events, the machine "shows a lot of cutting-edge technology, so in that sense it is a breakthrough".
"We'll probably be getting science out of this thing for 20 years," Butterworth said.
Peter Barratt is the communications chief for the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which distributes UK government funding for scientific research. He described the first beam's circulation as "fantastic".
"We were all a bit apprehensive, but they got the first beam round in just under an hour," Barratt said. "We're now looking forward to the energy ramping up." He also added that it was "mindblowing" for particle physics to be getting the international exposure granted by coverage of the LHC.
The STFC will continue to fund the LHC through the UK's subscription to Cern and the funding of research scientists, Barratt said. "Once we start receiving the data [from the LHC], those guys need to sit down and start analysing it," he said. "Maybe they will overturn the physics textbooks as they are at the moment — who knows?"
Dr David Sankey is a particle physicist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, a research centre in Oxfordshire. "It's getting real," he said in reaction to Wednesday's successful LHC initiation. Comparing Wednesday's LHC initiation to starting an engine, he said: "This is the turnover, and it went well."
Sankey pointed out how the 20 years of development and preparation that had gone into the LHC continued right up until recently. "This has been a long time coming," he said. "Even last week, people were working in [the CMS detector]. They were working flat out up to this deadline, and it worked."