Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Largest particle collider conducts successful test
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS The Associated Press Wednesday, September 10, 2008; 5:59 AM
GENEVA -- The world's largest particle collider successfully completed its first major test by firing a beam of protons all the way around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.
After a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen at 10:36 a.m. (0836 GMT) indicating that the protons had traveled the full length of the US$3.8 billion Large Hadron Collider.
"There it is," project leader Lyn Evans said when the beam completed its lap.
Champagne corks popped in labs as far away as Chicago, where contributing scientists watched the proceedings by satellite. Physicists around the world now have much greater power than ever before to smash the components of atoms together in attempts to see how they are made.
The world's largest particle collider (essentially a racetrack for science) was planned for Texas, to replace the Fermilab accelerator in Chicago. Didn't happen. Spent $2 billion and then stopped the dig in 1993. No political will for something that cost billions and only established America as the foremost leader in world research.
So the Europeans stepped up and built the largest and best in Switzerland.
$1000 billion for war, but not $4 billion for basic scientific research. Understanding the makeup of the universe is not an American priority. Is this a farsighted nation or what?