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Archive for Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big atom smasher a big hit worldwide

September 11, 2008

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European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists applaud during the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle collider, at CERN's control center in Geneva. The collider successfully completed its first major test Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists applaud during the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle collider, at CERN's control center in Geneva. The collider successfully completed its first major test Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.

On the street

Do you believe in the big-bang theory?

No, I don’t think so. I’m more of the biblical type. I believe that God created the Earth as described in Genesis.

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— A small blip on a computer screen sent champagne corks popping among physicists in Switzerland. Near Chicago, researchers at a "pajama party" who watched via satellite let out an early morning cheer.

The blip was literally of cosmic proportions, representing a new tool to probe the birth of the universe.

The world's largest atom smasher passed its first test Wednesday as scientists said their powerful tool is almost ready to reveal how the tiniest particles were first created after the "big bang," which many theorize was the massive explosion that formed the stars, planets and everything.

Rivals and friends turned out in the wee hours at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., in pajamas to watch the event by a special satellite connection. Joining in from around the world were other physicists - many of whom may one day work on the new Large Hadron Collider.

Tension mounted in the five control rooms at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as scientists huddled around computer screens. After a few trial runs, they fired a beam of protons clockwise around the 17-mile tunnel of the collider deep under the rolling fields along the Swiss-French border. Then they succeeded in sending another beam in the opposite, counterclockwise direction.

The physicists celebrated with champagne when the white dots flashed on the blue screens of the control room, showing a successful crossing of the finish line on the $10 billion machine under planning since 1984.

"The first technical challenge has been met," said a jubilant Robert Aymar, director-general of CERN. "What you have just seen is the result of 20 years of effort. It all went like clockwork. Now it's for the physicists to show us what they can do."

The beams will gradually be filled with more protons and fired at near the speed of light in opposite directions around the tunnel, making 11,000 circuits a second. They will travel down the middle of two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder than outer space. At four points in the tunnel, giant magnets will be used to cross the beams and cause protons to collide. The collider's two largest detectors - essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons - are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

It is likely to be several weeks before the first significant collisions.

The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of a hypothetical particle - the Higgs boson - which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

Comments

geekin_topekan 5 years, 7 months ago

They really think that they can contain this?They can't even contain 2000lbs of compressed gas(safety film).When it goes haywire and the geniuses are whisked away to become a dense blob of energy who will take control?

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gr 5 years, 7 months ago

I guess I never realized "nukes" were "dense" mass.Are you goint to be writing a science fiction book? Maybe you can include something about a parallel universe being created underground.

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igby 5 years, 7 months ago

Tiny black holes!Pin holes in the wall of space and time! That's brains for you, they have played down the risk and by the brains behind this machine will say "oh well, run for your life",when the tiny black holes are lose and hunting dense mass. Why dense mass?The first law of thermodynamics: "and object in motion will stay in motion". Where will they go? Hunger for dense mass will lead them too and where they will eat, will they find it; a meal of dense mass? A nuke warhead perhaps, a dense ball of mass. A nuke reactor core, perhaps. If you ask them about the tiny black holes they will tell you "oh their like a little nats or fruit flies, they will go away or die out" The size of a mustard seed, tiny little sparks of blue light. A breach in the wall, hunting dense mass. Moving through steel, gold, silver, earth, water and causing signs of chaos and wonder until they find a suitable home of density. Will they have a mind of their own or will they be just a physical function of hungry little gravity makers.Gravity is found out then. The wall that divides reality and mass from the much greater force of unknowns. How will they stop them? They cannot be stopped.What will we do when these nukes start exploding on their own without controls or warning.Speed of light brought these tiny little mustard seeds of destruction into our reality, hungry little devils, looking for dense mass.The earth will quake when they find their home in dense mass. The man made dense mass of nukes.

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