Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research are planning to launch a much-awaited study into the origins of the universe this September.

Officials at the Geneva-based center, known by its French initials as CERN, Thursday said they fire up their massive particle accelerator on September 10. Scientists hope the accelerator, the biggest of its kind, will allow them to study particles whose existence has been theorized but never observed.

The accelerator, a hulking machine made up of a series of circles and lodged in a 27-kilometer tunnel, is expected to recreate conditions like those a split second before the so-called Big Bang at the start of the universe.

Physicists hope the study will lead to discovery of the Higgs boson particle, considered a missing link in the history of particle physics. It is thought to hold the answer to why sub-atomic particles have weight or mass.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.