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Big Bang atom smasher records first proton hits


A File Photo of the Large Hadron Collider.

GENEVA (AP/PTI): Scientists running the world's largest atom smasher used the USD 10 billion machine's accelerator to speed up proton beams for the first time Tuesday, in a step toward experiments about the makeup of the universe.

"It was just a preliminary test," said James Gillies, spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

But the machine showed it could raise the energy of the proton beams whizzing around the massive machine by an initial 10 per cent.

"It's good," Gillies said in an interview. "It's all going very well."

The new step in the startup phase indicated continued smooth operation of the Large Hadron Collider since its repairs following a spectacular collapse last year.

It followed a speedy startup beginning Friday night when the LHC injected the first beams, later getting them to run in both directions and even record the first proton collisions at high energy to test the detectors of what that will reveal about the insides of the subatomic particles and forces.

Gillies said Tuesday that the energy of the proton beam was increased to 540 from 450 billion electron volts, still a long way from the power that will be needed for new discoveries in the makeup of the universe and matter.

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