British scientists are celebrating after creating mini-versions of the “Big Bang” thought to have given birth to the universe 14 billion years ago.
The “Mini Bangs” were created during the Alice experiment where lead ions were smashed together at enormous energies.
Dr David Evans, a member of the UK team from the University of Birmingham, said: “We are thrilled with the achievement.
“The collisions generated mini Big Bangs and the highest temperatures and densities ever achieved in an experiment.
“This process took place in a safe, controlled environment generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over 10 trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.
One of the lead collisions in the Alice ‘detector’
“At these temperatures even protons and neutrons – which make up the nuclei of atoms – melt, resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma.”
Powerful magnets spun the lead ions round miles of underground tunnels at velocities approaching the speed of light.