The BBC reports that after 13 years and 5 billion pounds the Large Hadron Collidor(LHC), a machine housed in a 27 km-long tunnel on the swiss-french border, has been succesfully switched on.
The LHC is designed to smash particles together and recreate the moments after the big bang.
"Eventually, two proton beams will be steered in opposite directions around the LHC at close to the speed of light, completing about 11,000 laps each second.
At allotted points around the tunnel, the beams will cross paths, smashing together near four massive "detectors" that monitor the collisions for interesting events.
Scientists are hoping that new sub-atomic particles will emerge, revealing fundamental insights into the nature of the cosmos," The BBC reports.
Ordinary matter, such as you, me, galaxies, gas stars and planets make up 4% of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy, stuff that virtual.ly nothing is known about other than the fact that they are ther. Physicists think the LHC will provide clues to the nature of this stuff.
National Geographic reports that some people are worried that the LHC will create black holes that could swallow up and destroy the earth or the whole universe.
physicists connected to the LHC and independent of, say there's no reason for alarm.
""Collisions just like those the [atom-smasher] will make have been produced by cosmic rays bombarding the Earth throughout its existence," said a statement from the American Physical Society."