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Atom & Cosmos

A world record for atom smashing, plus black hole threesomes, a volcanic Mars and more in this week’s news

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6:06pm, May 3, 2011
Atom smasher sets a new record
The world’s most powerful atom smasher has set a new record for beam intensity. On April 22 the Large Hadron Collider attained an intensity of 4.67 x 1032 protons per square centimeter per second. That’s the highest of any particle accelerator that collides hadrons — particles that are composed of quarks held together by the strong force. The new intensity is about 16 percent higher than the previous record, held by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron. Boosting beam intensity is crucial when searching for rare processes and particles such as the long-sought Higgs boson, which would explain why many elementary particles have mass. —Ron Cowen


Black hole threesome revealed
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