LHC Produces Highest Energy Collision Yet

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 30 (UPI) — Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, say they have achieved the highest energy collision ever recorded between two proton beams.

The beams collided at 7 trillion electron volts, officials at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said. The event occurred inside the $8 billion, 17-mile collider tunnel, located 574-feet beneath the Franco-Swiss border at 1:06 p.m. local time Tuesday (7:06 a.m. EDT), achieving an energy level 3 1/2 times higher than previously recorded by any particle accelerator.

“It’s a great day to be a particle physicist,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “A lot of people have waited a long time for this moment, but their patience and dedication is starting to pay dividends.”

Guido Tonelli, spokesman for CERN’s Compact Muon Solenoid, a particle detector, said physics teams worldwide were already analyzing data produced by the Tuesday experiment.

“We’ll address soon some of the major puzzles of modern physics like the origin of mass, the grand unification of forces and the presence of abundant dark matter in the universe,” Tonelli said. “I expect very exciting times in front of us.”

CERN officials said they will run the LHC for 18-24 months with the objective of delivering enough data to make significant advances across a wide range of physics.

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