Scientists have recreated mini versions of the Big Bang.
Experiments in the circular Large Hadron Collider tunnel under the French-Swiss border provided the breakthrough.
Temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the sun were generated when lead ions were smashed together.
The aim is to unveil secrets of the cosmos.
“The Big Bang starts here. Today we are here,” said Juergen Schukraft of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, pointing at a chart which displays the Big Bang theory.
“What we want to study is this region. The first time, the universe did not consist only of elementary objects but when these elementary objects coalesced into combined objects.”
The collisions recreate conditions like an early phase of the Big Bang fireball, more than 13 billion years ago, out of which galaxies, stars, planets and eventually life itself emerged.