The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is celebrating March 30, 2010 as "World TeV Day" in recognition of the major milestone achieved at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at approximately 1:06 p.m. CEST earlier today.
At that precise moment, protons traveling at nearly the speed of light smashed together at energies of 7 TeV -- the highest-ever energetic particle collisions achieved in a laboratory.
"Today marks the formal start of the physics phase of LHC work, and on behalf of the American Institute of Physics, I congratulate the staff of the LHC and their collaborators as they embark on one of the great scientific journeys of the 21st century," says Fred Dylla, the Executive Director and CEO of AIP. "The LHC team is like a United Nations of physics, having brought together thousands of women and men from more than 100 countries around the world over the last few decades."
"Now this assembly has begun the largest scientific experiment in history," Dylla adds. "Never before has so much energy been mustered into so small a space as in these 7 TeV collisions on this first World TeV Day."
The LHC is the largest particle accelerator ever built -- a precision instrument for slicing time and space into the smallest segments ever attained. In the next several years, scientists expect remarkable achievements from the instrument, which will now begin exploring nature at a size scale of one billion-billionth of a meter and taking scientists back to a moment equivalent to the first microseconds after the Big Bang, says Dylla.