Today, after one major breakdown, 14 months of repairs, and a lot of consternation and hand-wringing, the world’s highest energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, began its first data run, albeit at half energy. It’s a signal achievement, to be sure, although the real news may be that scientists at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, can finally get down to a relatively quiet stretch of amassing a data set, calibrating their incredibly complex particle detectors, and making sure they can identify familiar particles before they search for exotic new ones. Don’t expect shouts of “Eureka!” next week. To show what the LHC is and how it finally made it to the starting line, Science has compiled a few images of the great machine and its development.
Mouse over an image to see its caption. Credit for all images: CERN.