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 Atom-smasher restarts

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Join date : 2009-10-04
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PostSubject: Atom-smasher restarts   Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:38 am

GENEVA - THE world's biggest atom-smasher, shut down after its inauguration in September 2008 amid technical faults, restarted on Friday, a spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research said.

'The first tests of injecting sub-atomic particles began around 1600 (1500 GMT, 3am Singapore time),' Cern spokesman James Gillies told AFP.

He said the injections lasted a fraction of a second, enough for 'a half or even a complete circuit' of the Large Hadron Collider built in a 27km long tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.

'If all goes well tonight we will try to circulate a beam of particles for several minutes around 0700 (0600 GMT, 2pm Singapore time),' on Saturday, Mr Gillies said, adding that he would open a bottle of champagne if the accelerator kept on working.

The LHC promises to unlock scientific mysteries about the creation of the Universe and the fundamental nature of matter. But the machine was shut down just nine days after its inauguration last September following a series of technical faults.

Since then, the LHC's components have been tested to an energy equivalent of five teraelectronvolts at full power. The maximum output of what is currently the largest functioning collider in the world, at the Fermilab near Chicago in the United States, is one teraelectronvolt. -- AFP

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