Physicists across the world will spend the wee hours of tomorrow morning watching with bated breath as the world’s most expensive science experiment gets under way, the New York Times reports. At 3:30am Eastern, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will switch on for the first time, sending particles racing through a 17-mile track underneath Geneva, with nothing less than the core of particle physics at stake.
The collider is designed to replicate conditions moments after the Big Bang. Many scientists hope to find dark matter or the theoretical Higgs boson particle, but all they know for sure is that the device probably won’t destroy the universe. CERN has been rigorously refuting reports that the collider could cause a cosmic catastrophe, but even if that's wrong, Earth is safe—for now. Particles won’t collide during the test run, merely run along the track.