The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched a competition to find a better, more catchy name, for the Large Hadron Collider, offering a £500 prize purse in the process.

"The multi-billion pound particle accelerator which started up yesterday morning in Switzerland is an incredible scientific machine that might smash open the secrets of the universe, but its name fails to reflect the drama of its mission, or the inspiration it should be conveying to the wider public", said the Society.

The RSC is offering the £500 prize to the person submitting the best alternative name to the Large Hadron Collider which "most effectively captures the imagination of both young and old, whether interested in science, or merely sceptical onlookers".

The competition will close at noon on Wednesday 17 September 2008, after one week's safe operation of the LHC. The Society states the prize will not be awarded if the Earth is destroyed before this time.