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Large Hadron Collider at CERN sent out first beam

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - Scientists today sent the first beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light around the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The University of Texas at Arlington built components for the ATLAS particle detector at the LHC and is the lead institution for the SouthWest Tier 2 computing facilities that will analyze data from the giant detector. UT Arlington Professor of Physics Kaushik De is the computing operations coordinator for the ATLAS in the United States.

The first circulating proton beam is a major accomplishment on the way to the ultimate goal: high-energy beams colliding in the centers of the LHC’s particle detectors. The scientists participating in these experiments will analyze these collisions in search of extraordinary discoveries about the nature of the physical universe. Beyond revealing a new world of unknown particles, the LHC experiments could explain why those particles exist and behave as they do. They could reveal the origins of mass, shed light on dark matter, uncover hidden symmetries of the universe and, possibly, find extra dimensions of space.

An estimated 10,000 people from 60 countries have helped design and build the accelerator and its massive particle detectors. The ATLAS experiment has 2,500 physicists; 25 percent of them are from U.S. universities and laboratories supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

Other UT Arlington physicists who work on the project are Professor Andrew White, Associate Professors Andrew Brandt and Jaehoon Yu, Assistant Professor Amir Farbin and 15 other researchers, including students.

“As the largest and most powerful particle accelerator on Earth, the LHC represents a monumental technical achievement,” said Raymond L. Orbach, U.S. Department of Energy undersecretary for science. “I congratulate the world's scientists and engineers who have made contributions to the construction of the accelerator for reaching this milestone. We now eagerly await the results that will emerge from operation of this extraordinary machine.”

Photos and videos from the LHC First Beam day at CERN are available at: http://www.cern.ch/lhc-first-beam. De can be reached at kaushik@uta.edu.

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