About Science
Study reveals why the leopard got its spots
Allergy risk linked to time of first trimester
Hubble reveals furthest galaxy yet
Scientists confirm water from lunar probe
Researchers power up tiny batteries
Plants clean air better than expected
Haiti fault capable of another big quake
Japanese man joins growing genome ranks
NASA releases report into balloon crash
Tree's ability to soak up CO2 has limits
Ground coffee helps robot get a grip
Assassin bugs lure arachnid snack
Research reveals spring in ostrich's step
Lizard gender bends at altitude
Study suggests early primates out of Asia
Flamingos boost their colour to find a mate
Globular clusters more than one-off event
Ancient Africans first to use sharp tools
Grass could turn toxic waste into energy
Earth-like planets may be common
Natural born cell killers
Fingers spot typo ahead of the brain
Ecofriendly styrofoam from milk and clay
Study proves exercise boosts immune system
First little Big Bangs created at CERN
Scientists at the world's largest atom smasher are getting their first look at the conditions which existed moments after the big bang of creation.

Physicists working on the ALICE experiment in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), under the Franco-Swiss border, have started smashing heavy lead ions together at close to the speed of light - in the process recreating the universe as it was 13.7 billion years ago.

The successful collision of lead ions in the accelerator at record energies allows matter to be probed as it would have been in the first moments of the Universe's existence.
Quark Gluon Plasma

Dr David Evans from the University of Birmingham, describes the collisions as mini Big Bangs, creating the highest temperatures and densities ever achieved in an experiment.

Evans says it's generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

"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," he says.

By studying this plasma, physicists hope to learn more about the Strong Nuclear Force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

The others are the weak nuclear force, the electromagnetic force and gravity.

Evans says the Strong Force not only binds the nuclei of atoms together but is responsible for 98% of their mass.

"I now look forward to studying a tiny piece of what the universe was made of just a millionth of a second after the Big Bang," he says.

This new phase of the LHC program comes after seven months of successfully colliding hydrogen proton packets at high energies.
Alice watches the rabbit hole

The 10,000 ton ALICE experiment has been specifically designed to study the extreme conditions produced in these lead-ion collisions.

It's one of four main detectors on the giant 27 kilometre underground ring designed to offer up insights about the earliest moments in our universe's life.

Dr Stephen Myers, the director of accelerators and technology at CERN is in Australia at the moment.

He says the high energy levels involved in lead ion collisions means things could start happening very quickly.

"Lead ions are much more complicated particles than hydrogen protons and so it's a very exciting time."

"We're slamming these ions into each other at over 99.9 per cent of light speed", Myers says, "but it's not the speed, it's the huge mass and energy levels which is important."

Until now the main thrust of the LHC has been the search for the Higgs Boson the so called god particle that's thought to generate a Higgs field which would give all other particles their mass.

But Myers points out other important experiments are also being carried out, including the search for antimatter, dark matter and supersymmetry.

"It's all about finding new physics, that's why we built the LHC", says Myers.

Researchers put spark into scramjets
Fish found making their own 'mozzie' nets
Japan confirms asteroid dust on outback probe
Genetech pioneer awarded science prize
Scientists capture anti-matter atoms
Study reveals Icelandic eruption build-up
Astronomers spot galactic intruder
Open-mouthed laughter appreciated most
Financial crisis causes dip in CO2 levels
Puberty genes linked to body fat
Face shields needed for combat: study
Organically-grown vegies not more nutritious
Bloodstains could give age away
Models show pterosaurs flew long, slow
Marsupial carnivores were underestimated
Massive black hole collision revealed
Jet-lag causes long term memory loss
Sunken tanks could detect secret nukes
Dino demise supersized the mammals
Binge drinking linked to heart disease
Cassini sniffs oxygen on Saturnian moon
Image shows echoes from before big bang
Research uncovers diamond's soft side
World warmer, but trends at odds: report
Humans caused megafauna demise: expert
The world: Four degrees warmer
Blood vessels show pollution, heart disease link
Young great whites don't have the bite
Dolphin social network good for calves
Is fish-oil Alzheimer snake-oil?
Cosmic rays trace Sun's journey through space
Marsupial mole mystery solved
Scientists warn of new polio virus strain
Oldest known stone axe found in Arnhem Land
Fly-by captures first comet photos
Dead quasar's ghostly glow reignites debate
Mum and Dad tell us how to wear our genes
New images expand solar flare knowledge
Experts urge caution on Snowy cloud seeding
First little Big Bangs created at CERN
Tarantulas help map the fear factor
Neanderthal brains developed differently
Whales showing more sun damage
Bush cricket has the biggest balls of all
Giant gamma bubbles found in Milky Way
Complex life possible earlier than first thought
Happiness evades wandering minds?
Cat lapping defies gravity
Physics unravels wet dog shake
Hubble captures rare galactic view
Early wrinkles no sign of an early grave
World's forests suffer from 'leakage'