Large Hadron Collider goes on winter break
European scientists has stopped the world`s largest atom smasher for a scheduled maintenance break after eight months of successful scientific research into the origins of the Universe, according to RIA Novosti.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland posted on Monday an "End of 2010 run" note on its official website dedicated to the work of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The operations at the collider are shut down at least until the end of February to let the CERN scientists check the LHC systems and start analyzing the vast amount of data gathered since March.
After a two-month break, CERN researchers will resume colliding protons at impact energies of up to 7 TeV, and continue to study lead-ion collisions under ALICE experiment.
Scientists hope to catch a glimpse of the elusive Higgs boson, nicknamed the "God particle," and even discover the make-up of the mysterious anti-matter.
The collider, located 100 meters under the French-Swiss border with a circumference of 27 km, enables scientists to shoot subatomic particles round an accelerator ring at almost the speed of light, channeled by powerful fields produced by superconducting magnets.
The $5.6 billion international LHC project has involved more than 2,000 physicists from hundreds of universities and laboratories in 34 countries since 1984.