jonny goes to england

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Wednesday – Big Bang Day

with 2 comments

(I am no physicist at all – so my descriptions will be inaccurate!)

On Wednesday 10 September the LHC — Large Hadron Collider — at CERN will get its first particle beam injected! That’s an amazing time for physics and actually the whole world. The BBC (and 250 other media organisations) will cover this event for the whole day with a special “Big Bang” programme.

Basically, the LHC is a large,expensive (6 billion euro) underground (down to 130m below the surface) ring of supercooled magnets which accelerate atomic particles to almost the speed of light. Two particle beams will be directed towards each other to create collisions. Four absolutely massive detectors will analyse the resulting smashed particles for certain properties. To give you an impression of the size of these detectors. One of them, CMS — Compact Muon Solenoid — is a monster containing, accoding to BBC, more iron than the Eiffel Tower and weighting 12’500 tons (more than 30 Jumbojets).

One of the experiments is to see whether an elementary particle, predicted by the so called Standard Model of physics, can be observed. The Standard Model is basically a huge formula which lets you express all possible interactions between the known physical forces. Everything works fine .. however one particle has been introduced to make the maths work which only exists in theory. The so called Higgs Boson.

This higgs boson is the missing link to explain how some elementary particles have mass (the bosons) and some others don’t (the photon). It is explain that, some particles when they change velocity they receive a certain amount of resistance from the so called Higgs Field. This resistance is the origin of inertial mass. Other particles however accelerate without being influenced by the Higgs Field. Kind of like moving a spoon through honey gives you a certain resistance while a very thin blade wouldn’t experience that drag.

If the Higgs Boson would not be detected by one of the LHC experiments then physicists would have to reconsider their standard model of how the natural forces work together.


Written by jk

September 8, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. By the way: Do you already know the CERN-Rap?

    The video is not as good as the text and the song itself 🙂


    September 10, 2008 at 5:51 pm

  2. But… what good does finding Higg’s Boson do for the humanity as a whole when we ARE ALL GOING TO DIE due to a microscopic black hole DEVOURING us in the most horribly gruesome manner, like a connoisseur-alligator slowly chomping on a very nutrient-rich and tasty human.

    No, wait, what?

    Yeah, OK. I take my pills now.

    Anyway, as for the LHC-freaks present in the media, I think the best thing after the “black hole is gonna kill us all” crowd was the people going yadda yadda about LHC enabling time travel after the activation time-point (this is of course because the LHC will open some wormholes, or something like that).


    September 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm

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