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Powerful collider set to smash protons

LHC to begin collisions soon, but will be limited to half power

2:45pm, February 13, 2010

Editor's note:
On February 20, Steve Myers, CERN's director of accelerators and technology, told Science News that regular collisions at the Large Hadron Collider are now not expected until about March 1. However, the mid-March goal for ramping up the energy of each of the collider's twin proton beams to 3.5 TeV remains the same, he said. (Note added February 22, 2010.)

After more than a year of delays, the most powerful atom smasher on Earth will finally begin regular collisions of its two proton beams around February 20. But to help safeguard CERN’s Large Hadron Collider from further electrical problems, the accelerator will run at only half its maximum energy for the next 18 months to two years, said Steve Myers, CERN’S director for accelerators and technology.

That decision all but guarantees a new and major delay in discovering new elementary particles — including the long-sought Higgs boson, whose existence would account for w

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