The world’s highest-energy particle accelerator

The Large Hadron Collider at Cern experienced its first collision a week ago and, as the BBC reports, in the early hours of this morning it officially became the world’s highest energy particle accelerator by accelerating its twin beams of protons to an energy of 1.18 TeV – breaking the previous world record of 0.98 TeV, held by the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Tevatron collider since 2001. There’s an elongated Cern video report here. First physics due early 2010 at a collision energy of 7 TeV (3.5 TeV per beam). From the Cern press release.

“We are still coming to terms with just how smoothly the LHC commissioning is going,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “It is fantastic. However, we are continuing to take it step by step, and there is still a lot to do before we start physics in 2010. I’m keeping my champagne on ice until then.”

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  • joeCanuck

    I’m a tad disappointed you didn’t mention the proposed head-on collision between the Pope, (or Holy Roman Emperor if you prefer), and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • Long John Silver


    I’ve been reading all the posts on this topic as you have posted them, and tried to keep up to date. But I’m not much of a scienctist. I know this is very simplistic, and that often what actually emerges from something like this is entirely different to what people hoped to find, but what is the very basic purpose of this project?

    If I understand correctly, they are going to collide particles together at very high intensity – from this are they hoping the collison produces energy that could eventually after much more work be utilised to power the devices we use every day?

  • joeCanuck

    No, Long John.
    It’s blue sky research. Simply to find out “why?
    “. That has always been the “job” of any physics research.
    Sometimes, a commercial spin-off occurs, but that is just happenstance.
    Sorry for butting in, Pete.

  • Pete Baker


    Primarily it’s an experiment to try to create, on a very small scale, the energy levels of the very early universe – “the most extreme historical re-enactment society ever”.

    Some frequent questions answered here.

    “No energy comes out of LHC – we get out of every collision exactly what we put in. I think the best hope for LHC technology helping us with the energy crisis is that the cooling systems developed for LHC are now being transfered to the ITER fusion project in France. And fusion certainly would be the answer to our energy problems if we can make it work on an industrial scale, which is the goal of ITER by around 2035.”

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘the energy levels of the very early universe’

    Was that when Adam was chasing Eve round the garden?

  • joeCanuck

    Funny that you would mention ITER, Pete.
    For the latter half of my career I was a nuclear engineer.
    My company put in what we thought was a credible bid to host ITER. If successful, there was a fair chance that I would be Chief Engineer. Alas, the chosen site was always going to be political.