Well, yesterday it passed its first test by firing beams of protons around a 17-mile underground ring. What is the goal of this $3.8 billion project, which is described as the biggest physics experiment ever?
According to this story:
Scientists hope to eventually send two beams of protons through two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space. The paths of these beams will cross, and a few protons will collide. The collider's two largest detectors -- essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons -- are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.Wow ... that's way over my head. It's no wonder we have heard less about the collider than Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" reference that seems to have created a big bang.
The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle -- the Higgs boson -- which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.