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.”