NewYorkTimes By DENNIS OVERBYE Published: March 23, 2010
After spending $10 billion and making preparations for 16 years, scientists hope to start the world’s biggest physics experiment next Tuesday. Beginning that morning, engineers will try to collide protons in the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile underground racetrack, in the hopes of recreating primordial particles and forces beneath the French and Swiss countryside outside Geneva, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said Tuesday. The collider was designed to accelerate protons to energies of seven trillion electron volts and then smash them together, but design flaws will keep the collider running at only half power for the first two years of its operation. A long shutdown to bring the collider up to its full potential is planned for 2012.