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10:59 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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LHC Researchers Test Proton-Lead Ion Collisions

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Researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) performed early on Thursday the first proton-lead ion collisions as part of the LHCb particle physics detector experiment.

Researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) performed early on Thursday the first proton-lead ion collisions as part of the LHCb particle physics detector experiment.

LHCb is an LHC experiment set up to explore what happened after the Big Bang that allowed matter to survive and build the Universe we inhabit today.

“Today the LHC operational team made tests of collisions in order to prepare set-up of LHC collider and LHC experiments for next year,” researchers said on LHCb public website.

The proton-lead physics data taking is planned to take place in January and February 2013.

Approximately 760 people from 54 scientific institutes representing 14 countries form the collaboration that built and now operate the LHCb detector.

According to LHC scientists, collisions of protons with lead ions are more difficult than the proton-proton or lead-lead collisions, which have been performed at the LHC since its launch in 2008.

The collider, the world’s biggest particle accelerator, was built with the prime goal of finding the Higgs boson, whose existence was predicted by British physicist Peter Higgs in the 1960s, or prove its absence, possibly undermining the Standard Model.