Large Hadron Collider sets new record for beam energy -- 3.5 TeV

March 19, 2010 By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS , Associated Press Writer
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Operators of the world's largest atom smasher on Friday ramped up their massive machine to three times the energy ever previously achieved, in the run-up to experiments probing the secrets of the universe.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said beams of protons circulated at 3.5 trillion electron volts in both directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel housing the under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.

The next major development is expected in a few days when CERN starts colliding the beams in a new round of research to examine the tiniest particles and forces within the atom in hopes of finding out more about how matter is made up.

The collider in December had already eclipsed the record of the next most powerful machine, the at outside Chicago, which has been running just shy of a trillion electron volts, or TeV.

The extra energy in Geneva is expected to reveal even more about the unanswered questions of particle physics, such as the existence of and matter. Scientists hope also to approach on a tiny scale what happened in the first split seconds after the Big Bang, which they theorize was the creation of the universe some 14 billion years ago.

A screenshot of the main LHC display screen this morning, after the successful ramp in energy

CERN has reported a series of successes since the collider was restarted last year after 14 months of repairs and improvements following a spectacular failure when scientists initially tried to get the machine going.

CERN improved the machine during a 2 1/2-month winter shutdown to be able to operate at the higher energy.

"Getting the beams to 3.5 TeV is testimony to the soundness of the LHC's overall design, and the improvements we've made since the breakdown in September 2008," said Steve Myers, CERN's director for accelerators and technology.

Explore further: Large Hadron Collider sends beams in 2 directions

More information: * Record-breaking LHC collisions offer first glimpse of physics at new energy frontier -


Related Stories

Large Hadron Collider sends beams in 2 directions

November 23, 2009

(AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher made another leap forward Monday by circulating beams of protons in opposite directions at the same time in the $10 billion machine after more than a year of repairs, organizers said.

Geneva atom smasher seeks dark matter discoveries

March 8, 2010

(AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher could generate its first scientific breakthrough later this year when operators hope to make discoveries into the elusive nature of dark matter, the director of the European Organization ...

World's most powerful atom smasher restarts: CERN

February 28, 2010

Scientists have restarted the world's most powerful atom-smasher overnight, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Sunday, as they launch a new bid to uncover the secrets of the universe.

Giant atom-smasher set to restart this weekend: CERN

November 20, 2009

The world's biggest atom-smasher, which was shut down soon after its inauguration amid technical faults, is set to restart this weekend, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research said on Friday.

Restored machine to explore mysteries of Big Bang

November 21, 2009

(AP) -- Scientists are preparing the world's largest atom smasher to explore the depths of matter after successfully restarting the $10 billion machine following more than a year of repairs.

Recommended for you

New type of electron lens for next-generation colliders

October 18, 2017

Sending bunches of protons speeding around a circular particle collider to meet at one specific point is no easy feat. Many different collider components work keep proton beams on course—and to keep them from becoming unruly.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2010
LHC reached 5 GeV in 2008, but it crashed during this. The accident occured on September 12, when the energy was being raised from about 4 to 5.5 TeV, which required between 7000 and 9300 amps of current.

1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
If it's not steady does it not count as a record? If that's true broglia, maybe they don't count things before the break down as record setters? Seems a bit weird that they wouldn't though.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Broglia have you a link to the sauce of this information I would love to take a look =)
1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2010
Seems a bit weird that they wouldn't though.
Why they should do? They tried to cover the scope of the whole accident to avoid lost of grants... First photos of accident revealed for publicity just after three months after accident.


1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Isn't that like saying a car broke a landspeed record, but exploded in the process - it's ok it still counts..?
Have we seen any real science yet? I keep reading that it's running and working well, but no scientific info.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
The collisions from Dec., which weren't much higher than the previous record in terms of energy, confirmed the predicted results. Real science but not really newsworthy.
not rated yet Mar 19, 2010
not enough information collected to say real science is there yet -- it will take months of collisions and about 3 months of anaylsis on the data to find anything useful
4 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2010
CMS has already published a paper on minimum bias events taken during the Fall 2009 run. My experiment, ATLAS< submitted a min bias paper this week. It is not a trivial exercise to turn-around data-taking into a paper, especially when you are still trying to understand your detector's performance with real events.

Isn't that like saying a car broke a landspeed record, but exploded in the process - it's ok it still counts..?
Have we seen any real science yet? I keep reading that it's running and working well, but no scientific info.

1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Thanks Brogila here is an alternative link since yours didn't work for me.

It's understandable now why they didn't report the 5GeV since this was only sector testing and not circular beam testing in it's fullness. And certainly not collision testing.

Fingers crossed the newly installed copper sheathings will hold until it's revamp in 2011.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
oops make that TeV*
not rated yet Mar 19, 2010
CreepyD, I guess that's what I was asking, although it's clear now that they weren't collision even energies, so no it doesn't count, but as you mentioned with the car analogy; wouldn't that still count as the world record even if the car didn't make it back home? Was the first person to make it to the peak of Everest counted or the one who made it up and back? I think i'd count the first person, regardless of his trip back. I don't know though I guess we'd need a better definition of "record".
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
The problem here Royale, CreepyD is that the injection energy's for segments of the rings where at this level, but there was never a fully circulatory beam. This is the equivalent of the car getting near the speed in fragments and then blowing up. would you record that as a record breaker, personally no. But when they have full beams traveling around all 27Km of the LHC this is more a yes, because even before collisions could take place, they at least have one full revolution of the beam consistently at this energy. Also the machine broke so not really the compliment sandwich you want to feed your supporters and critics.
Mar 20, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2010
Great! ( We're still alive ! )
Lets move further to peta-electron volts
1 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2010
so what USEFUL things will the LHC do? Anything we can actually use?
The relative advance of collider research is a product of intensive nuclear research and cold war arm race. So far, during seventy years of collider research we have no practical usage for any particle, prepared in accelerators. So we can extrapolate safely, no potential finding of LHC could be used during next fifty years. In fact, the relative advance of collider experiments makes troubles for civilization, because scientists aren't apparently able to estimate their results reliably. Which would make no problem, if it would be low energy scale experiments. And high concentration of money brings up undesirable traits of human personality in emergent way. How?

Well, inside of stars every particle attracts their neighbors quite slightly - but when such attraction gets multiplied, a strange things occur at the center. Of course, every particle involved feels no personal responsibility for this result, as usually.
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2010
From pure economical perspective, it will be more advantageous to continue in collider experiments later, when the general advance in technology would allow us to carry out it in more safe and CHEAPER way.

During playing strategic game like the Civilization game it has no meaning to invest all resources into research, until we have no usage for such research. We cannot spend all free money into Pluto or Higgs boson research just because such research is feasible - some priorities must always be postulated there. And when the rest of word gets poorer and poorer, I feel less and less ethical to spent large amount of money into such research, while we ignoring of cold fusion or room Tc superconductivity findings. The science should help to survive all people - not just some close privileged group of scientists.

One could say, we can never get enough of research - but it's not quite true, because poor civilization cannot absorb the results of expensive experiments at all.
3 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2010
So far, during seventy years of collider research we have no practical usage for any particle, prepared in accelerators. So we can extrapolate safely, no potential finding of LHC could be used during next fifty years.

So, you haven't heard about something called the internet?


just for one...
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 27, 2010
Internet browser is not elementary particle - we aren't investing billions into collider research just for development of HTTP. It's logical, such high concentration of money attract clever people and another inventions - but this still doesn't replace the original purpose of research and its failure in practical applications.

With such demagogy we could consider even the WWW II as the best investment of civilization with respect to high number of technologies, which were developed during it. Maybe we should thank Hitler or Stalin in the same way, like Tim Berners-Lee? Such demagogy is just a logical extension of previous demagogy.
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2010
I'd rather advance science by smashing particles (or attempting to) than by making wars. The truth is that advances have almost always come as side effects of more fundamental quests, and the WWW is just an example. Besides, it was something they DID need for their research.

The optics technology that provided glasses for everyone who needs them was developed after the discovery of the telescope by Galileo, when all the scientists wanted one, and the opticians began refining their techniques.

The discovery of evolution didn't seem something very practical until medicine turned out to benefit from it.

Particle physics in the early XX century was also beyond science fiction, but today we have positron emission tomography.

String theory seems to have lots of similarities to the high-Tc superconductivity theory, so you should welcome string theorists too...

How many more examples do you need?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.