Scientists in Switzerland to do the Monster Smash

The collider's ALICE experiment will look at how the universe formed by analyzing particle collisions.

GENEVA (AP) - Scientists are about to launch the biggest, most expensive physics experiment ever.

A 10-billion-dollar atom-smasher, known as the Large Hadron Collider, will be fired up Wednesday in a tunnel deep beneath the border between France and Switzerland. It's the most powerful atom-smasher ever built, producing collisions of protons traveling at nearly the speed of light in the circular tunnel. Scientists think the resulting showers of particles will provide more clues on
how everything in the universe is made. They're hoping for evidence on such mysteries as ``dark matter'' and extra dimensions.

Leading physicists, including Stephen Hawking, say the experiment is absolutely safe. But some skeptics fear the proton collisions could unleash microscopic black holes that might eventually doom the Earth.

The project could come close to re-enacting the "big bang." That's the theory that the cosmos was created by a colossal explosion.