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Posts Tagged ‘Large hadron collider’

The Large Hadron Collider Our understanding of the Universe is about to change…

Posted by jytmkh on September 11, 2008

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what’s for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.  (CERN)

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Why the Large Hadron Collider must be stopped

Posted by jytmkh on September 11, 2008

Posted by Chris Matyszczyk

I am not an intelligent designer. Nor am I a resident of France or Switzerland.

But this Large Hadron Collider experiment, in which particles are breaking the speed limit somewhere beneath the French/Swiss border and then crashing into each other like teenage drunks in fairground bumper cars scares the semi-comatose bejaysus out of me.

These scientists claim to know what they are doing. But scientists always claim to know what they are doing. Then they discover, while doing the thing that they claim to know they are doing, that they are doing something entirely different.

Is any government monitoring these people? What if the Alps are suddenly sent into orbit by two particularly control-free particles and land square on top of, I don’t know, Cleveland?

This is a clear admission of their intent. And it’s in French too.

(Credit: CC Robert Scoble)

Alright, sometimes experiments do have excellent unintended consequences. But not often enough. Yugoslavia was an experiment. Look what happened to that.

The subatomic particles in their long tubes will be going at just this side of the speed of light and no one, but no one, knows what will happen when they enjoy their protonic fender-bender. It’s all very well for Stephen Hawking to bet $100 that the supposed “God Particle’ will not be found by this experiment. It’s all very well for scientists to mock Professor Otto Rossler, who says that black holes will be created that will suck the earth away.

But let me tell you this. I have proof these scientists may be several wires short of a working plug. Before they began their descent into scientific instability, these people actually made a rap video.

In this rap they declare that this madness of theirs will “rock you in the head.” They rumble on about anti-matter being “matter’s evil twin.” And in some twisted way, they seem to want to recreate the Big Bang that made everything other than the Partridge Family and the Palin Family.

These people are clearly on an insane quest for anti-matter, the so-called evil twin. They are like the antagonists in ConAir or A Beautiful Mind, the sort of folks who want to blow up the whole world and deny Russell Crowe an award.

Is no one prepared to put a leash on this crazyfest? The first collision is due in around thirty days. Please, look at that video. Don’t they look like mad people to you? They’re not a day over 25 and if you’re telling me they’re compos mentis, I’m telling you that Amy Winehouse is taking tea with Richard Dawkins next week.

Will someone not put a stop to this? I don’t care if I’m made up of tiny little bits of string. I just want to be in one piece to watch the next Superbowl, the next series of Entourage and, although this is very ambitious, the Olympics live on the West Coast.

Techies, please help me here. Well, the sane ones amongst you, anyway. (news.cnet)

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Scientists fire up giant atom smasher

Posted by jytmkh on September 10, 2008

CERN, Switzerland (CNN) — Deep beneath the border of France and Switzerland, scientists Wednesday fired up one of the most ambitious experiments ever conceived, firing protons around a 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel to try to unlock the secrets of the universe.

The experiment will look at how the universe formed by analyzing particle collisions.

The experiment will look at how the universe formed by analyzing particle collisions.

The Large Hadron Collider — a $9 billion particle accelerator designed to simulate conditions of the Big Bang that created the physical Universe — was switched on at 0732 GMT to cheers and applause from experts gathered to witness the event.

In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions.

Skeptics, who claim that the experiment could lead to the creation of a black hole capable of swallowing the planet, failed in a legal bid to halt the project at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Others have branded it a colossal waste of cash, draining resources from its multinational collaborators that could have been spent on scientific research with more tangible benefits to mankind.

Sound off: What do you think of the experiment?

The collider will operate at higher energies and intensities in the next year, potentially generating enough data to make a discovery by 2009, experts say.

They say the experiment has the potential to confirm theories that physicists have been working on for decades including the possible existence of extra dimensions. They also hope to find a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson — sometimes referred to as the “God particle,” which has never been detected, but would help explain why matter has mass.

Thecollider will recreate the conditions of less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, when there was a hot “soup” of tiny particles called quarks and gluons, to look at how the universe evolved, said John Harris, U.S. coordinator for ALICE, a huge detector specialized to analyze that question.

Since this is exploratory science, the collider may uncover surprises that contradict prevailing theories, but which are just as interesting, said Joseph Lykken, theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

“When Columbus sails west, he thought he was going to find something. He didn’t find what he thought he was going to find, but he did find something interesting,” said Lykken, who works on the Compact Muon Solenoid, one of six experiments inside the collider complex.

Why should the layperson care about this particular exploration? Years ago, when electrons were first identified, no one knew what they were good for, but they have since transformed our entire economy, said Howard Gordon, deputy research program manager for the collider’s ATLAS experiment.

“The transformative effect of this research will be to understand the world we live in much better,” said Gordon, at Brookhaven National Laboratory. “It’s important for just who we are, what we are.”

Fears have emerged that the collider could produce black holes that could suck up anything around them — including the whole Earth. Such fears prompted legal actions in the U.S. and Europe to halt the operation of the Large Hadron Collider, alleging safety concerns regarding black holes and other phenomena that could theoretically emerge.

Although physicists acknowledge that the collider could, in theory, create small black holes, they say they do not pose any risk. A study released Friday by CERN scientists explains that any black hole created would be tiny, and would not have enough energy to stick around very long before dissolving. Five collider collaborators who did not pen the report independently told CNN there would be no danger from potential black holes.

John Huth, who works on the collider’s ATLAS experiment, called such fears “baloney” in a recent interview, and noted that in normal physics, even if the black hole were stable, it could just pass through the Earth without being detected or without interacting at all.

“The gravitational force is so weak that you’d have to wait many, many, many, many, many lifetimes of the universe before one of these things could [get] big enough to even get close to being a problem,” said Huth, professor of physics at Harvard University.

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This Machine Is the Future of Physics

Posted by jytmkh on September 10, 2008

The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most-powerful atom smasher, is an engineering marvel constructed hundreds of feet underground.

Composed of millions of individual pieces, the collider uses more than 9,000 magnets to accelerate two beams of protons to almost the speed of light. When the beams collide, they shatter into their constituent parts, allowing scientists to glimpse particles that don’t exist in standard environments.

The hard part, actually, becomes finding the rare and important particles among all the normal ones created in smashing atoms. Toward that end, physicists designed cathedral-size experimental chambers that feature some of the most-precise measurement tools ever created by man. One scientist described them as 150-megapixel digital cameras taking snapshots 600 million times a second.

In this gallery, we take you on a quick tour of the world’s most complex scientific machine.

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