CERN

Scientists shoot particles through a 16-mile long accelerator called CERN at the speed of light. And when the particles collide together in a vacuum colder than -271 Celsius, they put on a spectacular show.

Above, particle tracks from the first lead ion collision as seen by the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector



CERN

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The construction of ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN (the European particle physics laboratory)

Yorkshire-born particle physicist and CERN spokesperson Christine Sutton said: “When two lead-ions collide basic particles like pions – one of the basic particles that make up atoms – are expelled. Sub-atomic particles such as these include the basic building blocks of atoms and are common in the universe”



CERN is built to handle unimaginable forces. When scientists use the 9,300 magnets to blast two super-speeding lead ions together the heat generated is 100,000 times hotter than the sun. But for the magnets to work helium superfluid is used to keep the accelerator ring chilled to -271 Celsius.

CERN