Large Hadron Collider to run through the year in race for finding ‘God particle’

June 5th, 2009 - 3:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Large Hadron Collider London, June 5 (ANI): In the race for finding the elusive Higgs boson, or ‘God particle’, as it is popularly called, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run through the year, as it is in direct competition with the Tevatron, a less powerful accelerator at Fermilab in Illinois, US.

According to a report in the Times, the LHC will start smashing its first protons in October and run through the winter to keep it ahead in the international race to find the elusive “God particle”.

The CERN laboratory’s decision to operate the 4 billion pounds particle accelerator all year round makes it unlikely that the LHC will be beaten to the discovery of the Higgs boson, even after a serious fault forced a year-long shutdown, Lyn Evans, the project’s leader, told The Times.

The delay had raised the prospect that the Tevatron might be first to find the particle that is believed to give matter its mass.

It has recently narrowed down the search and its scientists hope that they might find hints of the boson next year.

The decision to keep the LHC open over the winter, when atom smashers are usually closed down to avoid peak electricity charges, will make up for lost time and put CERN back in pole position, according to Dr Evans.

“This will give us a shot much earlier,” he said at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. “I always wish Fermilab good luck, but they will have a hard job now. I’ve no doubt that they will publish more limits for the Higgs, but it’s going to be very hard for them to go much further. That’s a job for the LHC,” he added.

Winter operations, which will cost CERN 13 million pounds, mean physicists will be able to start working on LHC data even if there are further delays.

“It would have been terrible if we’d got everything working and then had to shut it down straight away. So, we’ve decided to bite the bullet and keep it going. That means if the schedule slips by a week or two, it’s not so bad. Up until this year, that was inconceivable,” said Dr Evans.

The LHC, near Geneva, is being readied for its restart after repairs to the catastrophic fault that shut it down just days after it was switched on last year.

The first beams of particles will be fired around its 17-mile (27km) ring in September and the first collisions will follow about a month later. (ANI)

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