Supercollider 'Beautiful' So Far, Scientists Say

Data already streaming forth from effort to find answers to Big Bang questions
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2008 5:50 PM CDT
Scientists watch computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch-on operation today near Geneva, Switzerland.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Scientists working with the massive atom-smasher buried under the French-Swiss border have already “seen some beautiful tracks coming off” the beams of protons circling the 17-mile loop, Bloomberg reports. “Things can go wrong at any time, but luckily this morning everything went smoothly,” one scientist told National Geographic. With the first test behind them, scientists will now gradually ramp up the experiments.

The first serious collision of protons is probably still weeks away. Researchers hope to bash them together with enough force to replicate the Big Bang and maybe unravel some age-old mysteries. Regardless of how that plays out, today's test marked a huge milestone in physics. “First of all, I didn't believe it,” said one observer. “I had to see it a second time, and I thought, ‘Oh, wow, it actually worked.’”