The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator complex, has started its first test on September 10, 2008.
The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with more than 8000 physicists from over 85 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
The LHC is one of the most controversial scientific projects in recent times. LHC is meant to create conditions similar to the “Big Bang” that started the universe. If the experiments are successful, it could create breakthroughs to the world of physics and provides in-depth information about our universe.
On more fantasy terms… the high energy particles will be travelling at close to light speed, a condition which could create wormholes and might allow time travelling according to some hypothesis.
The project is not all welcomed though; some scientist dubbed the project as the Doomday Test, fearing that it could cause the end of the world by creating uncontrollable blackholes.
And some others are criticising that the money (estimated cost €3.2–6.4 billion) could be better spent on more pressing matters like global warming and poverty etc.
Update – A magnet failure on September 19 caused a tonne of liquid helium to leak out into the experiment’s 27km-long tunnel… the LHC will be shut off until spring 2009 while engineers probe the incident [via BBC]
You can check out more about LHC on its official website (forget about it if you don’t have a degree in science/engineering lol) or some simpler facts on Wikipedia; or just watch the introductory video below made by Chris Mann from CERN…