Particle physicists were jubilant after the long-awaited startup of a mega-machine designed to expose secrets of the cosmos passed its first tests with flying colours. Cheers, applause and the pop of a champagne cork — rather than the cataclysmic suck of a black hole, which doomsayers had feared — marked the breakthrough at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Robert Aymar, the organisation’s director general, hailed it as a “historic day” for CERN and mankind’s thirst for knowledge. Humans have “a quest for (knowing) where they came from and where they should go, whether the Universe will end, and where the Universe will go in the future,” he said. Just after 0730 GMT, a first proton beam was injected into the Large Hadron Collider (LHV), a massive project built 100 metres (325 feet) underground at CERN headquarters. The mission aims to resolve some of the greatest enigmas in physics: whether a so-called “God particle” exists that would account for the nature of mass; an explanation for “dark matter” and “dark energy” that account for 96 percent of the cosmos; and whether other dimensions exist parallel to our own. In a 27-kilometre (16.9-mile) circular tunnel on the Swiss-French border, parallel…
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