Betsy Mason reports for Wired News:
CERN announced early Monday that the Large Hadron Collider has become the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator. The LHC pushed protons to 1.18 TeV (trillion electron volts), surpassing the previous record of 0.98 TeV held by Fermilab’s Tevatron.
The LHC had a rough start: It suffered a mechanical failure just a week after it fired up for the first time in September 2008. Now, 10 days after it turned on again, scientists are celebrating with their fingers crossed that the machine is safely on its way to the physics experiments they plan to begin next year when the LHC has reached its target energy of 7 TeV.
“We are still coming to terms with just how smoothly the LHC commissioning is going,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer in a press release Monday. “However, we are continuing to take it step by step, and there is still a lot to do before we start physics in 2010. I’m keeping my champagne on ice until then.”
The first beam was injected on November 20, and two beams sped around the 17-mile ring in opposite directions three days later. All four of the LHC’s detectors recorded data from the collision of those two beams.
The first to announce the record may have been the scientists running the CMS detector through their Twitter feed:
@CMSexperiment: World Record!! Tonight at about 22:00 the LHC accelerated a beam of protons to 1180 GeV – a new record energy! …
[continues in Wired News]