Large Hadron Collider collides particles at record force, gives off exclamation marks

The LHC today set the record for the strongest ever successful particle collisions within a laboratory environment, and the record for number of exclamation marks in a tweet

Patrick Steen Special to CNET News

CERN's Large Hadron Collider today successfully smashed particles at three times more force than has ever been achieved before. The collisions generated a record number of exclamation marks in CERN's tweets, opening up the possibility that the theoretical Higgs boson is an extremely small form of punctuation.

The latest world record was broadcast live over the Internet, with further updates provided by an excitable CERN Twitter feed: "Experiment have seen collisions!!!!!!!!!!! First time in the history!!!!!!!!!!!! World record!!!!!!!!"

The huge 17-mile particle accelerator in Geneva increased its power to 7 TeV (trillion electron volts). Following a number of mishaps over the last few years, at 13:06 CEST the $10bn scientific experiment successfully collided particles.

CERN particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti said, "With these record-shattering collision energies, the LHC experiments are propelled into a vast region to explore, and the hunt begins for dark matter, new forces, new dimensions and the Higgs boson." (Gianotti is also a trained pianist, according to Wikipedia, which just makes us want to retch with jealousy.)

Now that this world record is set, the atom smasher can generate incredibly useful data over the next 18-24 months and possibly answer some of physics' most fundamental questions. Beware: don't mention black holes, because Professor Brian Cox will collide his clenched fist with your face.