Big Bang scientists herald success

Scientists at Cern say experiments using their “Big Bang” machine are starting to see signs of potentially new and interesting effects.

This content was published on September 22, 2010 - 20:38
swissinfo and agencies

Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) say the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) appears to have produced a small amount of the matter that existed in the first moments of the universe.

They said colliding particles seem to be creating "hot dense matter" that would have existed microseconds after the Big Bang and might hold the key for understanding how the liquids, gases and solids of our universe were created.

Correlations bear similarities to studies with larger particle structures conducted at the United States Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, and that they reveal how some particles are "intimately linked in a way not seen before in proton collisions."

"We are very excited," said Raju Venugopalan, a senior Brookhaven scientist who wasn't involved in CERN's experiments. He told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the data showed "for the first time" that protons have quantum properties that can be enhanced in collisions.

In the LHC, high-energy protons in two counter-rotating beams are smashed together to search for exotic particles.

The beams contain billions of protons. Travelling just under the speed of light, they are guided by thousands of superconducting magnets.

The experiments scour data from the collisions for signs of extremely rare events such as the creation of the so-called God particle, the yet-to-be-discovered Higgs boson.

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