On Monday, the Large Hadron Collider started cracking little knuckleheads of protons into one another, and here’s what the New York Times says is the ramp up schedule for ever greater energy knock-about levels (ultimately leading to Big Bang equivelent energy collisions):
In the next weeks before a holiday break, CERN hopes to increase the proton energies to 1.2 trillion electron volts apiece, which would make the hadron collider officially the most powerful in the world, eclipsing the Tevatron (900 billion electron volts) at Fermilab in Illinois. Early next year the first runs devoted to physics research will start at 3.5 trillion electron volts — half the original design energy. To get near 7 trillion electron volts, the engineers say, the machine will have to be shut down a year from now for a lengthy period of repairs and other work.
Given the theoretical possibility of the collider producing mini-black holes, let’s hope the physicists running the project are a bit more adroit in the production of smash-ups than the Stooges.