CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has gone online, becoming the world's largest operational particle collider. The LHC was the result of $9B USD and years of collaboration from researchers worldwide. It promises to unlock great mysteries such as the Higgs boson and deeper insight into how antimatter behaves.
The launch did have its share of hassles. First, researchers were alarmed by death threats from fearful observers who worried the device would generate huge black holes, despite reassurance from the world's top scientists that any tiny black holes that did arise would quickly evaporate. Second, according to CERN officials, late last night the LHC was experiencing some "small electrical problems".
None of these issues could put a damper on the launch though and it continued on schedule. It turned on at 9:30 AM CEST and at 9:49 AM the first beam of protons was fired through the first 3-km of the 27-km ring. It took 48 seconds to generate the pulse.
Firing ramped up and by 10:25 AM the proton beam was travelling the entire track. The tests went quicker and had fewer issues than expected. Counterclockwise beams are currently being tested.
CERN expects the LHC to be fully operation and unlocking the mysteries of the universe within a few months based on the strong initial testing. After the counterclockwise tests, the next step will be to perform the first atom smashing later this month, colliding two proton beams together.
Expect to hear much more news about the world's largest particle accelerator in the near future.