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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Operation Big Bang machine

GENEVA: International scientists celebrated the successful start of a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday aiming to recreate the conditions of the "Big Bang" that created the universe.

Experiments using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest and most complex machine ever made, could revamp modern physics and unlock secrets about the universe and its origins.

The project has had to work hard to deny suggestions by some critics that the experiment could create tiny black holes of intense gravity that could suck in the whole planet.

Such fears, fanned by doomsday writers, have spurred huge interest in particle physics before the machine's start-up. Leading scientists have dismissed such concerns as "nonsense."

The debut of the machine that cost 10 billion Swiss francs (5 billion pounds) registered as a blip on a control room screen at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, at about 9:30 a.m. (8.30 a.m. British time).

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