Geneva atom smasher set for record collisions

(AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher is ready to start a new era of science by colliding beams of protons to learn more about the makeup of the universe and its smallest particles.

Scientists say the could reveal details about theoretical particles and postulated microforces.

Two beams of protons began 10 days ago to speed at high energy in opposite directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.

The beams have been pushed to 3.5 trillion electron volts, the highest energy yet achieved.

The operators plan to start Tuesday trying to force protons in the beams to collide so that they can study the showers of particles that result.

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