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Large Hadron Coliider celebrates 5 years of not destroying the world!!

LHC Atlas

LHC Atlas

Five years ago, at breakfast time, the world waited anxiously for news from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The first nervy bunch of protons were due to be fired around the European lab’s latest and biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as it kicked into action.

Some “mercifully deluded people” – as Jeremy Paxman put it – feared the LHC would do no end of mischief. There was talk of planet-swallowing black holes, the transformation of the Earth into a new state of “strange” matter, and even the prospect of the obliteration of the entire universe. But for those of more sensible dispositions, the LHC’s first beam was an occasion for great excitement.

As the protons sped all the way round the 27km tunnel under the countryside between Lake Geneva and the Jura Mountains, thousands of physicists and engineers celebrated decades of hard work, incredible ingenuity and sheer ambition. Together they had created the largest-ever scientific experiment.

After the LHC was switched on, project leader Lyn Evans said, “We can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe.”

Operating a massive particle accelerator requires much more than flicking a switch – thousands of individual elements have to all come together, synchronised in time to less than a billionth of a second.

University College London’s physicist Jon Butterworth recalls a “particularly bizarre memory” from that day. Relaxing in a Westminster pub after an exhausting LHC event in London, Butterworth found he could follow live updates from his own ATLAS experiment on the pub’s TV.

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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 Big Bang Machine, CERN, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator Comments Off on Large Hadron Coliider celebrates 5 years of not destroying the world!!

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are getting set to create the Big Bang on a miniature scale.

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are getting set to create the Big Bang on a miniature scale.

Since 2009, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator has been smashing together protons, in a bid to shed light on the fundamental nature of matter.

But now the huge machine will be colliding lead ions instead.

The experiments are planned for early November and will run for four weeks.

The LHC is housed in a 27km-long tunnel on the Franco-Swiss border and is managed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern).

The collider consists of four different experiments and one of them, ALICE, has been specifically designed to smash together lead ions.

The goal of these collisions is to investigate what the infant Universe looked like. Colliding protons at high energies was aimed at other aspects of physics, such as finding the elusive Higgs boson particle and signs of new physical laws, such as a framework called supersymmetry.

Cern’s spokesman James Gillies told BBC News that besides ALICE, the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments will also be temporarily colliding ions.

Big Bang

He said the tests could provide an insight into the conditions of the Universe some 13.7 billion years ago, just after the Big Bang.

They will look at the Universe fractions of a second after a tiny but very dense ball of energy exploded to create the cosmos as we know it today.

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“Start Quote

At the temperatures generated, even protons and neutrons will melt, resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons”

End Quote David Evans University of Birmingham, UK

Scientists believe that it was back then that a special state of matter existed, different from the matter the Universe is formed of now.

“Matter exists in various states: you can take a material like water and if you deep freeze it, it’ll be solid, and if you put it on a table, it’ll turn into a liquid, and if you put it into a kettle, it’ll turn into a gas,” said Dr Gillies.

“It’s all the same stuff, but those are different states of matter. And if you take materials into laboratories, you can pull the electrons off the atoms and you have another state of matter which is called plasma.”

But at the very beginning of the Universe, there might have been yet another state of matter. Physicists have dubbed this “stuff” the quark-gluon plasma.

“And this is the state of matter you have if you’re able to effectively melt the nuclear matter that makes up atoms today, releasing the things that are inside, which are quarks and gluons,” Dr Gillies explained.

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Monday, November 8th, 2010 Big Bang Machine, CERN, Large Hadron Collider, LHC Comments Off on Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are getting set to create the Big Bang on a miniature scale.

CERN completes transition to lead-ion running at the LHC

Four days is all it took for the LHC operations team at CERN to complete the transition from protons to lead ions in the LHC. After extracting the final proton beam of 2010 on 4 November, commissioning the lead-ion beam was underway by early afternoon. First collisions were recorded at 00:30 CET on 7 November, and stable running conditions marked the start of physics with heavy ions at 11:20 CET today.

“The speed of the transition to lead ions is a sign of the maturity of the LHC,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The machine is running like clockwork after just a few months of routine operation.”

source CERN

Monday, November 8th, 2010 Articles, Big Bang Machine, CERN, Large Hadron Collider Comments Off on CERN completes transition to lead-ion running at the LHC