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article imageCERN's Large Hadron Collider recreates 'mini Big Bang'

By Kev Hedges     Nov 8, 2010 in Science
The Large Hadron Collider has created its very own mini Big Bang after smashing together lead ions instead of protons. These unique conditions were achieved yesterday by scientists working at the world's largest atom smasher on the French-Swiss border.
The LHC is smashing together particles in an effort to unlock the secrets of formation of our Universe. The collider, housed underneath the border is circular and 17 miles-long (27km). BBC Science reports, the successful experiment on Sunday created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) runs underneath the French-Swiss border in a circular loop some 17 miles...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) runs underneath the French-Swiss border in a circular loop some 17 miles-long
Juhanson
Up until now, the LHC has been smashing protons in a bid to uncover the formation of the universe. These proton collisions could help find the Higgs boson particle - an elementary particle that exists only in theory of particle physics.
The LHC is expected to find the Higgs boson particle, or confirm its non-existence. Higgs boson is often referred to in the media as the God Particle.
Over the next month scientists will study the data carefully from this ion collision. This will help to find out more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, some 13.7 billion-years ago.
These collisions obtained were able to generate the highest temperatures and densities ever produced in an experiment. David Evans, a researcher from the University of Birmingham, UK, is working on ALICE, the machine at the LHC that collides the ions together. He explained:
This process took place in a safe, controlled environment, generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.
At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma.
Put more simply quarks and gluons make up the building blocks of matter, they are sub-atomic particles. In the state known as quark-gluon plasma, they are freed of their attraction to one another. This plasma is believed to have existed just after the Big Bang. Scientists can then look forward to what happens next in an experiment that could discover what happens to these particles during those moments just after the big bang.
Last year, it was reported in Digital Journal that two distinguished theoretical physicists claimed that the Higgs Boson, or 'God particle', may have come from the future to sabotage the 'Big Bang' machine because it is against nature.
ALICE: This machine collides ions at the Large Hadron Collider
ALICE: This machine collides ions at the Large Hadron Collider
Stefan A. Gärtner
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