back to article LHC particle-punisher in record 7 TeV hypercollisions

It's official: as this is written, the most powerful particle collisions ever achieved by the human race are taking place inside the great subterranean detector caverns of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). An initial hiccup this morning saw an overly-jumpy automatic protection system quench a magnet and dump one of the beams, …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    when will they start

    colliding aircraft carriers?

  2. hplasm

    "We could not contain the joy..."

    Does an alarm sound when that happens?

    1. ravenviz

      Re: "We could not contain the joy..."

      No, it gets dumped just in case it gets out of hand.

    2. Ian Stephenson


      ...that's a containment breach?


  3. Secretgeek

    "... riotous scenes took place in the control rooms..."

    Where's my crowbar?

    Top stuff science type bods!

  4. Tom Richardson

    Paging Dr. Freeman...

    There'll be a resonance cascade by bedtime, you mark my words.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Playmobil reconstruction, shurely

    ""We could not contain the joy," reported a CERN spokeswoman as riotous scenes took place in the control rooms earlier on."

    Love the LHC stuff, keep it coming. One thing does worry me - what if the doommongeres like Dr. Dark Energy do turn out to be right? Surely that will mean

  6. Liam Johnson

    all the world's top physicists were right

    For now. There is still plenty of time for something unexpected to happen. If they were 100% sure what was going to happen, there would be no need for the experiment in the first place now would there?

  7. Paul_Murphy

    As always at:

    good going guys & gals - keep hitting those rocks together!


  8. Anonymous Coward

    Still here...

    1. Abremms

      title? title!

      one of these days, that site should be changed to say "Yes." just for funsies.

    2. Jeremy 2
      Thumb Up

      Source code..

      The source code of that page is lovely:

      if (!(typeof worldHasEnded == "undefined")) {


      } else {



  9. Melvin Meatballs
    Thumb Up


    That is all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Cool and congrats...

    So now I have question - a dumb one; but one I hope somebody in the particle physics arena can answer.

    What precisely will knowing if there are larger mass particles or prove symmetry or the existence of Higgs particles mean for us?

    I mean - longer life batteries, faster cars, improvements in energy consumption....?

    I don't precisely know what this and the large financial investment is all meant to lead to.

    ... genuine question!

    1. JimC

      What will ... mean for us

      That's always the challenge for pure science: demonstrating value to the bean counters.

      Pure science delivers advances in the long term, but they will not be delivered by pure science, but by technologists exploiting what the pure science reveals.

    2. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge


      Yes, Mr. Rutherford, you've split an atom, but I'm afraid I can't really see the use for half an atom.

      Have you considered a different degree? Perhaps something practical, like the emerging field of "media studies".

    3. BoldMan

      All those things and potentially more

      Understanding the fundamental particle physics means there are greater possibilities for industrial processes in the future. Fusion reactors?

      Then again, knowledge for the sake of knowledge is always a worthwhile pursuit IMO - it doesn't HAVE to be able to be turned into a product. Understanding the nature of the universe is important

    4. Annihilator Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Who's the third?

      Said by Eddington (or so it's believed) about people who understand relativity. The number is much higher today.

      Without relativity today, GPS wouldn't work. That's just one example. Most theoretical physics is done without any practical applications in mind. That's challenge two :-)

    5. Anonymous Coward

      What's in it for us?

      If I follow the storyline, faster aircraft carriers.

  11. Manas Straw

    Top Stuff, Sir!

    "Tinfoilclad doom prophets around the world - fearing some kind of planet-imploding black hole mishap, planetary soupening or custardisation event etc - no doubt found it a trouser-moistening moment"

    All of this goodness, packed into a single sentence.

    Give this man a beer, or two!

  12. ciaran

    that's why its rainigg?

    I live in geneva, and its been raining straight since midday, now I know why!

    1. GrahamT

      Quantum hop

      Well it's been raining here in London for what feels like weeks now and it stopped at midday. Apparently the the LHC caused a discontinuity in the space-time continuum, and our weather jumped to Geneva.

  13. Chris 2


    Hooray for tiny explosions a long way underground!

  14. Nosher

    Why not try for 14TeV now?

    Soooo... if it's scheduled to be off-line for a year anyway, and the outcome of a possible failure is similar to the last time it blew up, then why don't they just try a full-power run for a laff? What's the worst that can happen? Oh, it's offline for a year to fix it. Erm...

    1. Richard 120


      Something that would cost £2bn to repair after ramming it up to full capacity could only cost £1bn to shore up so that if you ram it up to full capacity then it doesn't break?

      A Cost/benefits analysis has probably decided that it makes better financial sense to not take the risk.

      1. John G Imrie

        That and the fact

        It will probably take them the year it's down to process all the data they get from the 7TeV collisions.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The worst that could happen?

      It might work and put all those upgrading geeks on the dole.

  15. The_Police!


    Great way to put it! 'trouser-moistening moment'

  16. Will Shaw

    Boo! Hiss!

    I want my catastrophic ensoupening, and I want it now! Booooo!

  17. MarkOne


    You can see the experiments live here:

  18. James Micallef Silver badge

    Raining in Geneva

    Confirmed... and it's not like it ever rains in Geneva, does it? errrm, no, hold on....

    Driving back into town after work, not sure if I should be more wary of inter-dimensional pan-galactic denizens or hordes of cheering inebriated boffins

  19. Richard Tobin

    Don't be too sure

    Even as we speak, MICROSCOPIC black holes may be OSCILLATING back and forth through the EARTH ITSELF accumulating MASS as they go. It could take WEEKS or DECADES before we learn the TRUTH.

    Meanwhile, look for very small holes in the floor.

  20. Aron


    Statistically speaking something did happen after the first particles collided today. Idiotic save the world cultists around the world shut the feck up for a while. We need to do this more often.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Crossing beams? Always a bad idea

    Having established their stability, these beams were allowed to cross paths and collide.

    This 7 TeV event, which took place on Tuesday at 1200 BST, was the highest energy yet achieved in a particle accelerator.

    "This is new territory," said Professor Tonelli.

    and then promptly shuts it down for a year for maintenance and any signs of Parallel Micro Universes or Time Wave Distortions.

    What a bunch of Tesla Teezers:+~

  22. Bo Pedersen


    I dont seem to be able to understand what this Vortigon in front of me is saying...

    mine's the one with the help hints on how to finish that strider bit on EP2

    1. Chris 2


      "mine's the one with the help hints on how to finish that strider bit on EP2"

      Yarr. Took me a couple of deaths before I realised I could just smack the wee doggy things over with the car. Very easy after that. Almost like... cheating?

      1. blackworx


        I'm just about to start Ep2. That'll teach me for being 2 years behind everyone else.

        And it's Vortigaunt.

  23. Ben Holmes

    I guess...

    ...that means I actually have to GO to my meeting this afternoon then.


  24. Captain Hogwash
    Thumb Up

    custardisation event?

    Bring it on! Yummy!

  25. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    A minor correction...

    "lightspeed 3.5 tera-electron-volt (TeV) protons"

    Well, they can either be at light speed, or have an energy of 3.5 TeV. I'm sure that any physicist will point out to you that the energy of the particles is due to a combination of mass and velocity and, due to relativity, as they approach the speed of light, their mass, and therefore energy, approaches infinity. Hence only massless particles (such as photons) can travel at the speed of light...

    As I said, its a minor correction, but an important one. The protons are actually accelerated to around 99.99% the speed of light.

    1. Chris Miller

      or more accurately

      99.9999991% of the speed of light

      1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


        I did scout around the interweb to find the correct number, but after not finding immediately, and being daunted by the though of having to apply my brain to some hard maths, relented and used the first number I found.

      2. Chemist

        Re : or more accurately

        Just round it up !

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coincidence or what....

    Did anybody else's lights flicker? We lost a couple of internet pipe too.... spooky !!!

    1. Adam C 1

      In Portland, Dorset

      And Dorchester, and Weymouth, we had a power cut for nearly 20 minutes.. At 12:00. No coincidence, surely?!

      Oh well, at least I got to test the UPS's at work :-)

  27. PsychicMonkey
    Thumb Up


    has anyone has a flash forward yet?

  28. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Here's to pure maths, and may it never be of any use....

    @...So now I have question - a dumb one; but one I hope somebody in the particle physics arena can answer.

    What precisely will knowing if there are larger mass particles or prove symmetry or the existence of Higgs particles mean for us?

    I mean - longer life batteries, faster cars, improvements in energy consumption....?...@

    The way it works is that pure research is usually completely without application when it's done. It simply raises the curtain about how things work a little more. Like Democritus around 400BC, when he developed the concept of the atom - there was nothing you could do with it then.

    Fast forward a couple of thousand years, and you get a limitless source of energy for mankind....

    I don't precisely know what this and the large financial investment is all meant to lead to.

    1. blackworx

      Don't you just...

      ...hate it when something on the internet screws with your keyboard layout?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Where's Gordon Freeman when you need him?

  30. The Original Ash
    Thumb Up


    ... I started watching Fringe last night. Managed about 20 minutes of an episode from an online "cache" and decided it was worth a look. £20 later and I own the first series! Here's hoping there's some references to atom-smashing and other wonderful sciency gubbins to explain the 6th-sense style words in the intro.

    (Psst... Hey, big media. Yeah, I saw 20 minutes of your show from an unlicensed source AND THEN BOUGHT THE WHOLE FIRST SEASON. Think about it...)

    1. Ian Stephenson


      Having read all the doom and gloom from big media I assumed I was the only one who did that...

      You sir are a figment of your own diseased imagination

      or I am

      or something...

  31. Arkasha


    I thought the world was going to end. Now I'll have to pay back that Amex I maxed out at the weekend.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its all good...

    ...till time starts repeating time starts repeating time starts repeating time starts repeating time starts repeating time starts repeating time starts repeating.

  33. Law
    Paris Hilton

    *shakes head sadly*

    "controls were cautiously tweaked to cross the two proton streams inside the detector arrays"

    Don't cross the streams… It would be bad… Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.


  34. Dungeekin

    The Press Release...

    ...would indicate there's a long way to go before they finally discover (or not) the God Particle.

    "First, our testing will continue with particles, increasing the energy involved until we reach the target of 7 TeV. This is a huge amount of energy, far beyond anything ever achieved by a man-made device before - to give you an idea of just how much it is, 7TeV is almost sufficient energy to restart Dick Cheney's heart.

    Finally, once we have established stable test collisions of protons at these energy levels, we will move on to our objective....."

    The Press Release is here:


    *warning: May contain traces of satire.

  35. John 62


    Evidently I'm slow with the math, because I don't have one.

  36. Alex C

    @Cool and congrats...

    Theoretically we could discover particles that lead to the development of the Tardis (though this is somewhat unlikely). Would that do?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marshmallow man?

    I saw Ghostbusters and they quite specifically said do not cross the beams unless there is a marshmallow man involved....... so where is he?

  38. A B 3



  39. Timothy

    "riotous scenes took place in the control rooms"

    I can picture a bunch of rioting scientists:

    Hey Earl, I just changed the scale from metric to the English system!

    Hey Joe, I used an 8.0000837 mm ball in the chair instead of the 8.0000000000 mm ball!

    John! I added the sign: Get the Lead Out to our Pb

    I just put a head on my root beer!

    All of them in chorus at the end: Beam me up Scotty! There is no intelligent life down here!

    Too much excitement for me!

    PS: I am happy it succeeded :)

  40. Duckorange

    Trousers = slightly browned

    This from my Twitter stream:

    Coincidence? I THINK NOT

  41. Chris Ashworth

    The clock in my office stopped at 12:37.....


  42. David Adams

    You think that's bad?

    "I owe a hundred grand to a badass loan shark that I blew on a stripper named Molly Mounts!"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      that's disgusting!

      You were on a stripper named molly mounts while you blew the badass loan shark? Seems like you ought to have your debts settled rather than increased after a performance like that.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prof Cox

    To Prof Cox, it might be frustrating that eveyone else keeps saying black hole and you have every right to be annoyed with the tin-foilers, even to the point of wanting to 'chin them' but can you give me another explanation as to why my sofa is moving towards Geneva of its own accord?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prof Cox

      Because your arse is so fat it has it's own gravitational field.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's a fair cop.

        'Tis true... Worst comment, Ever... I've wasted my life

    2. Steven Knox

      Sofa movement

      Eddies in the space-time continuum.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "Eddies in the space-time continuum."

        Let's hope he sends us a postcard :)

  44. Pete Tong

    Nice physics, shame about the funding cuts.

    "That's always the challenge for pure science: demonstrating value to the bean counters."

    Sadly we are failing at it - else why are we withdrawing from huge amounts of physics and astronomy projects. Myself I work on the LHC for a UK university - but I am now under threat of imminent redundancy to "save money", and many colleagues have already been made redundant.

  45. Paul_Murphy

    emergency dumps at 16:30

    Hopefully planned! - the comment is:

    'emergency dumps ...

    end of the first physics fill

    preparing for ramp down'


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Power supply went out of tolerance in the dump system so the safety systems kicked in, will soon be fixed :)

    2. Paul 4

      Celebration Lunch

      Maybe they orderd a curry to celebrate and it was a bit iffy.

  46. Charlie van Becelaere


    my blancmange seems to be moving on its own. I'm off for a tennis racquet.

  47. Joel Cholakians

    A B C D E OF F - for Fail...

    "Tinfoilclad doom prophets around the world - fearing some kind of planet-imploding black hole mishap, planetary soupening or custardisation event etc - no doubt found it a trouser-moistening moment"

    Laddies & Gentlemen - I woke up and not a single moist part in my pants. But I did need to take a leak a few times during the night. LOL

    A) They keep boosting the power and maybe like NASA encounter a few big bangs of there own.

    Sadly i don't know how many body parts will remain.

    B) They reach the limit, and nothing like a God particle is revealed or other, and all there experiments achieved will be acceleration (good stuff) sad and boring collisions.

    C) They wake up and realise that if God had anything to do with it, he would have put a password on at the sub atomic level.

    D) They just over stated the possible findings of such experiments so they could get funding.

    E) They run out of funding.

    F) God has no TeV limits or other, humans have a 7-14 TeV limit... HAHAHA

    I prefer (E)...

  48. Luther Blissett


    Up the Flintstones Universe. Reg readers' frequent typo when spelling out LHC is not at all a Freudian slip - it is reminding us of a deep falsehood about the universe.

  49. Jeremy 2

    Those kinds of parties...

    "Geneva looks set to be the party town of Europe tonight, as roistering boffins take to the streets to celebrate their triumph."

    Only if the Brownian Motion Producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) is working.

    1. Ian Moffatt 1

      Who booked the band?

      Rubber one that is

      Or is it not that sort of party?

  50. John Savard Silver badge

    Time Remains

    Although I suspect that after a year passes, and the first 14 TeV collisions take place without incident, those of the tinfoil hats will still not acknowledge their caution was misplaced.

  51. Stevie Silver badge


    Not only *did* the world end as a result of this ill-conceived nitwit experiment, a carbon copy was immediately created in an alternate dimension from which I am currently viewing what is now called "The Register".

    Unfortunately, due to some as-yet unexplained inconsistency in subatomic parity between what was The Earth and this, this, this shadow Earth, I have $100 less in my bank account this morning, and, I might add, a pounding headache and nausea like you wouldn't believe. It also seems I wet the bed as a result of some sort of interdimensional bladder destabilisation event.

    So much for "science".

  52. Majid

    Humanity are just insignificant little creatures

    We are completely insignificant in the greater order of things.

    No we can't blow up the world with our nukes. and we definitely can't create black holes with a 27 km kiddies racetrack.

    So please stop this non-sense, and let the scientist play with their racetrack multi-billion racetrack the way I played with mine (which I bought it for about 50 gulden, which is now about 25 gulden) when I was a kid.. Damn it was fun bumping those cars against each other at my self made junction.

    I should have patent it.. doh.. lost millions there..ah well another opportunity down the drain.

  53. John 104
    Black Helicopters

    Don't you see?

    Something DID happen! We just didn't notice because we were instantaneously transported into another dimension. Back in the old Sol system though, planets are adjusting their orbits as one of the large masses of the system has mysteriously gone missing...

  54. Anonymous Coward

    C'mon and do the conga...

    I suspect the streets of Geneva will see a flood of revellers tonight, with several sporting those "Particle Physics Gives Me a Hadron" T-shirts.

    Proper job. Mine's a pint.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Oh, I want one!

      Now I want one of those shirts, that's awesome. In a suitably geeky way, of course.

      Hats off to the boffins. I'm really looking forward to the 14 TeV collisions.

    2. Andus McCoatover


      'Nuff said. (Icon does it)

  55. Rocket
    Paris Hilton

    does this mean

    a black hole really did swallow us whole and spat us into an identical parallel universe?

  56. Ryan 7

    In my head,

    Dr Kleiner works at CERN.

    Just let me know when the resonance cascade is gonna be.

  57. Alan Firminger

    An extra dimension ( or two )

    It's there, I tell you, it's there. They laughed at me.

    How else can there be action at a distance.

    Astronomy and string theory both need it.

    I have a convincing experience of thought transferance. There is plenty of serious 'proof'.

    We need access to stop having to pay the bus.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Have no fear, tinfoil hat brigade!

    You can always sell your unneeded headgear to the anti-healthcare reform crowd in the U.S.!!

    But that being said, if a stray mini-black hole has now plummeted through the bottom of the LHC and is slowly assimilating the earth's core, we won't see the horrific results for at least a few years yet!! But I am glad to see that Western Europe has not yet decayed into a pile of chocolate pudding....

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      But I rather like

      chocolate pudding

  59. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Geneva==party capital of Europe


    I'll take a hoegarden.

  60. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    There have been some remarks about the use of it all

    We could equally say: Why should anyone pay millions for a Picasso, Rembrandt or Van Gogh? Why should anyone pay a composer, or musician, or a fiction writer?

    Answers: because we are human beings. We just like doing certain things because of curiosity or because we want to move our fellow humans emotionally. Most of all we make music, paintings sculptures and do science because it is fun, or because we could not imagine us being us WITHOUT doing it.

    In the very long run, if we are to survive, we will need to travel vast distances in space. Better understanding of physics is essential to this venture. However, in my opinion, we will only be worth saving in the long run if we do not lose our ability to do things out of curiosity, creativity and compassion, and without looking at the bottom line all the time.

    No beancounter can ever put a value on the joy of doing science

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Truly amazing

    Michael Barnett, a physicist from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said that he had worked on an experiment for the Superconducting Supercollider for 10 years until the project was canceled by Congress, and later spent 16 years on the Atlas experiment at the CERN collider.

    “We are on this planet and in this universe a short time,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “The dreams of a lifetime are waiting, and hopefully not much longer.”

  62. Andus McCoatover


    I've been fascinated by reading about this all morning. Great achievement.

    But, also I've read conflicting reports about the power of the beam cluster by "Science Correspondents" of newspapers. Differing between "mosquito on a windscreen" to "cruising warship"

    Wikipedia - if citated correctly - has the staggering detail:

    <The size of the LHC constitutes an exceptional engineering challenge with unique operational issues on account of the huge energy stored in the magnets and the beams.[28][60] While operating, the total energy stored in the magnets is 10 GJ (equivalent to 2.4 tons of TNT) and the total energy carried by the two beams reaches 724 MJ (173 kilograms of TNT).[61]

    Loss of only one ten-millionth part (10−7) of the beam is sufficient to quench a superconducting magnet, while the beam dump must absorb 362 MJ (87 kilograms of TNT) for each of the two beams. These immense energies are even more impressive considering how little matter is carrying it: under nominal operating conditions (2,808 bunches per beam, 1.15×1011 protons per bunch), the beam pipes contain 1.0×10−9 gram of hydrogen, which, in standard conditions for temperature and pressure, would fill the volume of one grain of fine sand.>

    Now, that's a helluva grain of sand!

    As an aside, I was at the Joint European Taurus (JET) in Oxfordshire some 25 years ago, helping them set up a new digital 'scope. I remember seeing - or not seeing - the plasma beam. (On a display, natch).

    Ever (not) seen aerogel? You can't make up your mind whether it's there or not. Something in the brain won't accept it. Check the link* to see what I mean. Same as the plasma beam. It was like someone shining a bright torch across your line of vision through the worst pea-souper fog imaginable.

    Love to see that particle bunch. or not see...


  63. Bugs R Us

    Not at full power yet

    By the time they get it up to full power, in about a year or so, it'll be ....OMG....2012!

  64. Rob

    So what your telling me is...

    ... I have to cancel my colossal custard party.

    Just one disappointment after another today, now what to do with a 75ft sq apple crumble?

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