It's Wednesday 10th September 2008 at just after 8:30am (BST) in a suburb of Geneva, Switzerland and a beam of protons is about to begin its journey around the Large Hadron Collider that has, over the last couple months, been cooled to -271.3°C (a mere 1.9° above absolute zero). If all goes well then plans will be made to accelerate 2 beams, moving in opposite directions, from their injection energy of 450 GeV to 5 TeV which is the same as accelerating the protons to 99.99% the speed of light. And then they'll let the 2 beams collide.
And then what? Well I'm sure that D:Ream's [wikipedia.org] Brian Cox can explain it better than I:
Over the next few weeks I'll keep you all updated and try to explain the physics as I go along.
After a false start the beam has made it through the first section of the collider. Over the course of the day attempts will be made to go further and further around until the beam gets all the way around the accelerator. These are the first steps to getting the particles accelerated up to full speed.
The beam has now made it half way around the collider if all goes well getting the beam all the way around then the will try in the opposite direction.
At 09:28 the beam was successfully steered the full 27km around the accelerator.
"Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the machine’s acceleration systems will be brought into play, and the beams will be brought into collision to allow the research programme to begin."
source: CERN Press Release [cern.ch]
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