debbie millman

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recreating The Moment That Created Everything In Existence

Today, our understanding of the Universe will change.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument buried 100 meters below the countryside on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland. In it, high-energy protons in two counter-rotating beams will be smashed together in a search for signatures of supersymmetry, dark matter and the origins of mass. This particle accelerator will used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionize our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

The LHC is funded and was built in collaboration with over eight thousand physicists from over eighty-five countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. Today, after weeks of cooling down the machine to −271.25° Centigrade, the Collider will begin to smash protons moving at 99.999999% of the speed of light into each other in order to recreate conditions a fraction of a second after the big bang. In essence, the Large Hadron Collider is a big-bang machine.

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 until the two beams collide, 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 is certain is this: 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.

My favorite line from the entire video, said by a young scientist brimming with excitement as he shows off the tubes of the LHC, "Look at this blue--it's even an exciting color."

For more information, visit the official site of the LHC.


Blogger Scott Perez-Fox said...

The LHC is without a doubt the coolest thing ever built. Better than Guttenberg's press, better than the Atomic Bomb, and way better than any iPod. So fucking cool — and it's streaming live on the web!

Unfortunately, I fear that the US will never get science and politics on the same page with enough coordination and fervor to build something like this. *sigh*

At least we've got iPods.

9/10/2008 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above statement is in the top 10 stupidest statements I've ever read.

"Better than the Atomic Bomb"...'Cause that's way cool.

9/12/2008 09:51:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

things i paint
things i photograph
design matters design matters poster designed by Firebelly
about me things i do those i thank things i like current playlist