10 December 2009

LHC breaks world record

The Large Hadron Collider, LHC at CERN has now had proton-collisions at 2.36 TeV. That means that CERN has reclaimed the position as ‘the most powerful accelerator in the world’. The Tevatron at Fermilab in the US has only reached just under 2 TeV while running.

This opens a whole new era in particle physics and it is the first step into a new unknown territory of energy where new discoveries are possible. It can be compared to when Galileo looked up at the sky with the first telescope and discovered Jupiter’s moons.

”They represent collisions at the highest energies ever and we can now look forward to looking deeper into matter than has previously been possible”, explains an almost awestruck postdoc at the Niels Bohr Institute, Troels Petersen, who is glued to the computer retrieving data from CERN.

Both the ATLAS-detector and the Alice-detector got data while there were collisions and the Danish researchers in the Discovery Center are looking forward to analysing the petabytes of LHC-data that are now pouring in. 


The image shows a proton collision at 2.36 TeV in the LHC accelerator as reconstructed by the ATLAS detector. The lines of different colour are particles passing out through the detector, seen from the side and from one end. From these tracks one can deduce what went on in the collision, and possibly if any new particles were created.