Wednesday, September 10, 2008

«Fire Up the Doomsday Device, it's Show-Time!»

Large Hadron Collider hallwayToday they will start to circulate the first particles through the Large Hadron Collider. However, the first collisions aren't scheduled until October 21st.

You might be wondering, what is a hadron anyway? A hadron is either a proton or a neutron; you know, the stuff atoms are made of. Its name could be taken the wrong way. It's not colliding over-sized hadrons, it's the collider itself that is large. It's the largest particle accelerator built to date, at 17 miles in circumference. It will accelerate those hadrons to near light speeds, traveling around that 17 mile circumference about 11,000 times a second. Then smash them into each other and see what the resulting debris is.

Why do this? Because the high energy levels involved might give some insight into what the first milliseconds of the universe were like. Hopefully, it will give some clues as to how and why properties like mass and gravity came to be. After-all, hadrons have a mass 100 times greater than the quarks that they are comprised of for reasons yet unknown. Truly, greater than the sum of their parts.

As I've said before, there's no chance of creating a black hole that will devour Earth. We've been bombarded with natural cosmic rays that have higher energy levels (moving at speeds even faster than those possible in the LHC). However, the natural occurrences are sparse and unpredictable, so they can't be properly observed with the right equipment. That's why we need the Large Hadron Collider.

EDIT: Oh, I just had to add this when I saw it. Take a look at Google's logo for today, it's the Large Hadron Collider:
Google Large Hadron Collider (LHC) logo


  1. Dear Helen Arthur,

    May Be Of Interest

    There was talk that the initial switching on was jinxed by an influence from the future as the machine may create paradoxes in time such as the Grandfather Paradox

    From Richard Osborne

  2. @ Oggy: I remember something about that, not sure why I didn't mention it anywhere.


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