Scientists say they have created a mini Big Bang using the world’s largest atom smasher, resulting in a temperature a million times hotter than the sun’s center.
In an underground tunnel near Geneva, Switzerland, the European Organization for Nuclear Research smashed particles inside the $10 billion accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider in an effort to learn more about the plasma that formed the universe in a split-second after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Scientists say a tiny ball of matter exploded and then quickly formed a melted “soup” of matter, which then re-ordered itself into what is now the universe.
The experiment, using lead ions instead of protons, produced the highest temperatures ever created by scientists, and a kind of matter formerly unseen on Earth.
At these temperatures, even protons and neutrons melt, resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons. The moment the scientists are re-creating happened about 0.00000000001 seconds after the Big Bang, an interval when protons and neutrons can’t even stay whole.
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