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America to end its search for the 'God particle'

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Either way, the announcement that the Tevatron's Nobel-Prize-winning program will end has been anticipated for years, acknowledges Stuart Henderson, the lab's associate director for accelerators. But it was disappointing, he says.

In Europe, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN, brought its Large Hadron Collider on line in late 2009. The LHC is designed to smack protons together at energy levels seven times higher than those achieved at the Tevatron. The startup came a year late, after an initial attempt in 2008 uncovered electrical problems that required complicated repairs.

Scientists anticipate discovering new particles and evidence of new physics in the sub-atomic debris those LHC collisions will generate.

Throughout construction of the LHC in Europe, there was an understanding on this side of the Atlantic "that there would be an end to colliding beams here at Fermilab," Dr. Henderson says. In many respects, he says, the program at Fermilab has gone on longer than many originally envisioned.

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