- Two high-energy proton beams hit energy record
- Start of year of experiments to find - or rule out - the Higgs boson
- Particle will complete Einstein's theory of the universe
Early this morning, two high energy proton beams crossed at the Large Hadron Collider, breaking the world record for energy in such collisions.
The 8 TeV (teraelectronvolt) collisions mark the start of the 'end game' for the Hadron Collider's hunt for the Higgs boson, the ‘God particle’ that would complete Albert Einstein's theory of the universe.
As the LHC's crew declared 'stable beams' it marks the start of a year of experiments that will either find or rule out the existence of the particle.
The LHC is now scheduled to run until the end of 2012, when it will go into its first long shutdown. Scientists are confident the Higgs will be found or ruled out before that point
'The experience of two good years of running at 3.5 TeV per beam gave us the confidence to increase the energy for this year without any significant risk to the machine,' explained CERN1’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers.
'Now it’s over to the experiments to make the best of the increased discovery potential we’re delivering them!'
Higgs particles, if they exist, will be produced more copiously at 8 TeV than at 7 TeV - the previous operating power of the machine - but background processes that mimic the Higgs signal will also increase.