Collider Smashes Its Smash Record
But it's still slower than Fermilab
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2010 12:49 PM CDT
In this May 31, 2007 file photo, a view of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland is shown.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File)
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(Newser) – The Large Hadron Collider has just achieved its highest particle collision rate ever, bringing it a step closer to the major discoveries scientists have long hoped it would produce. The collider is now smashing together 10,000 particles per second, or roughly double its previous best, the BBC reports. That’s still shy of what US researchers have managed at Fermilab, but the almost 17-mile LHC is expected to overtake Fermilab’s collider soon.

The machine is still running at half the power it was designed to run on—it should be up to full by 2013. “It's clear that the LHC is the new boy in town, but in two years running we're going to put Fermilab out of business,” says the operation group leader for the LHC. The increased collision rate is important, scientists say, because it increases the odds of spotting something interesting—like the theoretical Higgs boson particle.