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21 Oct, 2008 11:15

Broken for the big day: 'Big Bang' collider unveiled

CERN's Large Hadron Collider, built to probe the origins of the universe, has been officially opened despite it being currently out of action. The $6 BLN facility began operating last month, but immediately ran into trouble when a helium leak damaged part

But this won't stop leaders from 20 countries heading for the Swiss-French border to officially inaugurate the project.

The world's most powerful particle accelerator is expected to answer key unresolved questions in particle physics and help explain the origin of the universe.

The work of seven thousand minds

Some 7,000 scientists from 80 countries are operating the LHC in a hope to find previously unseen particles. Dozens of theories will be proven true or false.

The most significant of these theories is the Higgs mechanism for generating elementary particle masses. Physicists have long puzzled over how particles acquire mass.

Others deal with issues like quark masses, gravity, symmetry between matter and antimatter, extra dimensions, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, as well as the possibility of time travel.

Scientists ecstatic over 'new age' beginning