First Particles Collide in the
Large Hadron Collider
Candidate collision event in the CMS detector. (Image: CERN.)
The first protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider today at CERN outside Geneva, Switzerland.
The four largest detectors at the LHC all recorded candidate collision events. Scientists at CERN, throughout the United States and around the world celebrated the news.
"This is a very exciting moment after so many years of preparation," said Andrew Lankford from the University of California, Irvine, deputy spokesperson for the ATLAS experiment. Beams were first tuned to produce collisions in the ATLAS detector, which recorded its first candidate for collisions at 2:22 p.m. local time
(GMT+1). "The real accomplishment belongs to the accelerator scientists for bringing the beams into collision so quickly after they were first circulated," he added. These first collisions are another milestone on the way to the ultimate goal: high-energy collisions of protons in the center of the LHC experiments.
The initial, lower-energy collisions follow a weekend of rapid progress for the LHC. After more than one year of repairs, on Friday evening, November 20, beams were once again circulating in the collider. Over the weekend, the LHC team carefully studied the beams one at a time. Today at approximately 1:30
p.m. local time, two beams circulated at the same time for the first time in the LHC. As the two circulating beams passed through each other, protons from each beam hit one another, and the resulting spray of particles registered in the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb detectors.
"It's a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer in a statement issued by the laboratory. "But we need to keep a sense of perspective; there's still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme."
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