Collider Scientists Launch 'Mini Big Bang'

Experiment generates highest temperatures ever achieved
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 1:19 AM CST
An event display a CERN shows the activity during a high-energy collision. Before this week's experiments, the Large Hadron collider had only been used to collide photons.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – Scientists have used the Large Hadron Collider to smash together lead ions and create a "mini Big Bang" for the first time. The ions collided at close to the speed of light, creating temperatures a million times hotter than the heart of the sun. The "soup" of subatomic particles left behind will yield clues to the fundamental building blocks of the universe, scientists believe.

"What we're doing is reproducing the conditions that existed at the very early universe, a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang," a scientist involved with the project tells CNN. "We hope to understand how we're put together, how these constituents go on to make protons and neutrons, which in turn go on to make the atoms that you and I are made of."

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