Lhc – Quarks, Big Bang and Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

People are curios. Curiosity is one of the key elements that drives humanity towards the answers about our existence and our future. Since ancient times people have asked themselves about the origins of everything. From universe to the basic elements of the matter. Some people many thousands years ago assumed that if you divide some piece of matter this division must come to an end. This process should end with the basic, indivisible elements that constitute matter–atoms.

In the last centuries many experiments have confirmed that the matter is indeed consisted of some small particles. Scientific approach has contributed to the discovery of various natural and synthetic substances, molecules, chemical elements and atoms. Atoms, once believed to be indivisible, were also found to have some hard nucleus with electrons orbiting around it. Then it was discovered that the atom nucleus is consisted of protons and neutrons. So the atoms are divisible. This fact had many consequences. One of them with the most notable effect is fission nuclear bomb. However, the division story didn’t end there. Protons and neutrons were also found to contain some smaller particles–quarks.

Currently the list of all elementary particles is pretty long. This list is part of the Standard model–a model of how everything exists and interacts. It is believed that this model is not the final picture of the universe. There are still some unanswered questions. On the other hand, the universe itself is a subject of investigation. One of the key discoveries was that the universe is expanding. From this fact we can conclude that in the past the universe was smaller. The more we go into the past, the smaller it was. Sooner or later we come to the moment in time where the universe was infinitely small. This is called the Big Bang–the moment when the universe started to develop as we know it today, some 13.7 billion years ago. This is now the leading theory about the evolution of the universe. It is still unknown what banged, how and why.

The latest project to find some missing answers is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, Geneva. It is a giant ring 100 meters under ground where two beams of particles close to light speed will collide. Each collision will produce an enormous amount of other particles. Analysis of this debris will hopefully answer some questions about the nature of particles or even bring some new ones. Because of enormous collision energy (about 14 TeV) the circumstances will be close to the situation immediately after big bang. The LHC project is currently the largest and the most expensive scientific project.

Answering questions about micro and macro world will not only satisfy our curiosity but will also help us to understand the world. If we understand the world then we can make it better. And better world is a dream of everybody.

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010 Articles Comments Off on Lhc – Quarks, Big Bang and Large Hadron Collider (LHC)