The Large Hadron Collider Eats Lead

Move over protons, now there's something meatier. Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, Switzerland have swapped out protons for electron-stripped lead atoms. Why? To see the beginning of the universe.

It only took four days for researchers working on the Large Hadron Collider project to swap out protons for lead atoms, and everyone is impressed by the fast pace.

"The speed of the transition to lead ions is a sign of the maturity of the LHC," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. "The machine is running like clockwork after just a few months of routine operation."


Indeed, when the machine was first turned on, there were people around the world frightened by what would happen as the first planned collisions occurred. We're all still here however, safe and sound, so the experiment can move onto its next phase.

By colliding lead atoms together at high speeds, the thousands of researchers and scientists working on the LHC project hope to get a glimpse of the materials present during the initial formation of the universe. The plan is to create tiny amounts of this early matter, known as quark-gluon plasma, and study how it evolved into matter as we know it today.

The lead experiments will continue until early next month, when the Large Hadron Collider gets a much-deserved holiday break until February .

CERN Completes Transition to Lead-Ion Running at the Large Hadron Collider [Science Daily]

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