It has been seven months and some six trillion collisions since physicists at CERN began running protons around their $10 billion, 18-mile electromagnetic racetrack underneath the Swiss-French border outside Geneva and smashing them together in search of new particles and forces of nature. No new particles or forces have yet emerged, at least to the statistical satisfaction of the thousands of men and women now sifting through the debris from those collisions.
The proton collisions are scheduled to end on Wednesday. The machine will collide lead ions later in November and then shut down for the holidays. The collider will resume banging protons in February and run until the end of 2011. But CERN physicists say that data has already been accumulating faster than they can analyze it, and that the collider has already begun to surpass its rival, Fermilab's Tevatron.
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Large Hadron Collider website
LHC beam status