Large Hadron Collider creates mini Big Bang

9 Nov 2010

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) succeeded in creating a minature Big Bang, after switching the particles used for its collisions from protons to lead ions.

The LHC recorded its first lead ion collisions through the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) on 7 November, producing an effect that has been closer than ever to remaking the conditions just moments after the universe was formed.

Up until this point, CERN had been using this energy-particle accelerator to collide protons, in order to find the Higgs Boson particle and find new physical laws, such as super symmetry.

Lead ions were used in this experiment, which are heavier than protons, meaning higher energy is necessary to circulate them, more likely to create the matter that the experiment needs.

Researchers hope these collisions will create a thick soup of matter called ‘quark-gluon plasma,’ the matter which existed just after the Big Bang.

Researchers will analyse the data obtained from the lead ion collisions for the next four weeks.

The LHC was launched in September 2008. It’s a 27-km long circular ring under the French Swiss border, located at about 100m underground.

It’s the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider with about 9,300 magnets within it.

The LHC had caused a lot of controversy over fears the experiment would trigger a Doomsday event.

However, scientists said the possibility of the Higgs Boson creating micro black holes that grow and swallow up the universe would be more or less impossible, considering the small chance there is of these holes being created. They also said they would pop out of existence just as quickly, too.