London: Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have succeeded in recreating the Big Bang on a miniature scale.
The Telegraph reports that the collisions were produced by firing lead ions – atoms with their electrons removed — at incredible speeds in opposite directions around the LHC`s underground tunnel at Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva. The heavyweight particle collisions follow seven months of earlier experiments crashing protons — 200 times lighter than lead ions — at near-light speeds. The reaction created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun, which have not been reached since the first billionths of a second following the Big Bang.
This was expected to cause atomic particles such as protons and neutrons to melt, producing a `soup` of matter in a state previously unseen on Earth. Scientists , including British particle physicists , will now study the particles in the hope of discovering what holds atoms together and gives them their mass.
"The collisions generated mini Big Bangs and the highest temperatures and densities ever achieved in an experiment," David Evans, of Birmingham University, said. "At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a Quark-Gluon Plasma," Evans said. "By studying this plasma, physicists hope to learn more about the Strong Force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature," he added.