Washington, March 4 (ANI): Reports indicate that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator, has been restarted, and experts say that the machine might find the elusive 'God particle', despite running at half power.
Operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Large Hadron Collider is housed in an oval-shaped, 7-mile-long (27-kilometer-long) tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border.
According to a report in the National Geographic News, the LHC reboot comes after a run at the highest energies yet for any particle accelerator-or atom smasher-and a scheduled winter break.
The Large Hadron Collider will be run at only half power because equipment upgrades are needed before full-power operation is advisable, LHC scientists decided.
But, the LHC should still be capable of some stunning discoveries, perhaps even the detection of extra dimensions or evidence of the Higgs boson, or "God particle."
Particle accelerators use electric fields to channel particles into extremely narrow, fast-moving beams.
By colliding some of these beams, the physicists at the LHC hope to recreate the intense conditions just after the big bang and to solve other scientific riddles, such as the nature of dark matter, the invisible material that scientists think makes up most of the universe's mass.
The current schedule calls for operating the machine at a level that would result in collisions with the energy of 7 TeV (3.5 TeV per beam) until late 2011 or early 2012.
Even though the LHC won't be operating at its full potential, there are still plenty of exciting scientific discoveries that could be made, according to Dan Green, a particle physicist at Fermilab in Illinois and a member of the LHC's Compact Muon Solenoid experiment.
"The energy increase matters. At 7 TeV, we open up new physics searches at high masses," Green said.
"Even at half power, the LHC could yield evidence backing up the theory of supersymmetry, which says all the particles we know have more massive, but as yet undetected, partners," he said.
"Evidence for the Higgs boson, which physicists think is responsible for mass in the universe, might also be found at the Large Hadron Collider's lower energies," Green added.
After more than a year of repairs to fix electrical malfunctions that occurred during its initial run in September 2008, the LHC was restarted in November 2009.
In December, scientists obtained the first scientific results from the LHC before a scheduled shutdown to save on electricity costs. (ANI)