On the 10th of September, scientists at CERN, the European high energy physics laboratory, will fire up the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Â A beam of protons will be injected into this 27 km ring of superconducting magnets. Over the next few months, particles will be accelerated around the ring to higher and higher energies until the full operating energy is achieved.
Once the system is fully tested, two beams of ions will be brought together in a collision replicating energies released in the first moments of the universe. This will smash the particles apart revealing unseen details of their constituent parts. Fears expressed in the media about a black hole being created which will eat Geneva are somewhat exaggerated. Natural events such as those that create high energy cosmic rays often exceed the maximum energy of the LHC.
You can learn more at the LHC web site.