Rumours are spreading that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — the biggest experiment in particle physics — will see its first proton beams injected as early as 9 August.

According to an article in the New York Times, sources “in the physics community” are hinting that the proton beams will be circulating all the way round the 27 km-long accelerator by 2 or 3 September. If confirmed, it would be the first time in the project’s 16 year-long timeline that there has been a definite switch-on date.

However, the dates have yet to be adopted by officials at CERN, the European laboratory that hosts the collider. “Those anonymous sources were not me,” James Gillies, the chief spokesperson for CERN, told

Gillies says that the 9 August is “more solid” as a date when engineers will test beam-injection in one of the LHC’s eight sectors, but is currently only expecting beams to be running around the whole ring sometime in the first half of September. “I plan to make an official announcement early next week,” he adds.