Collider test called a 'great milestone of mankind'

Collider test called a 'great milestone of mankind'

Particle beam's first lap around accelerator paves way for upcoming collision experiment

According to documents from CERN, as the European Organization for Nuclear Research is known, each of the two beams will contain about 3,000 bunches of particles. Each bunch will hold as many as 100 billion particles. Despite these huge numbers, the particles are so tiny that a collision between any two is quite small. However, since the beams will be traveling at near light speed around the 17-mile tube, they'll cross each other about 30 million times per second, resulting in an estimated 600 million collisions.

If a beam circulates around the tunnel for 10 hours, for instance, it will travel more than 10 billion kilometers, which is the distance it would take to travel to Neptune and back.

With the Big Bang theory, scientists largely believe that more than 13 billion years ago an amazingly dense object the size of maybe a coin expanded into the universe that we know now -- with planets, stars, black holes and life.

A main goal of the experiments is to find the elusive Higgs particle, which is believed to be responsible for giving other particles their mass. Though its existence hasn't been proven yet, it's believed that Higgs particles are what give electrons their weight, for instance.

Scientists are also hoping the particle collider will give them information about dark energy and dark matter.

"This is part of the quest to explore our surroundings. It's part of the quest to understand our world and ourselves," Wyslouch said in a previous interview.

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