12 Sep 2008

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Posted by jofr

LHCThe LHC is nearly ready. I guess the people at CERN will find want they are looking for, because too many researchers have been working too long at the project. They have to find s.th., and because the amount of data is so huge, they will probably find what they expect: something that can be identified as a Higgs boson. But there will be more open questions than answers: if they find the Higgs boson, say with mass 142 GeV, why does it have the mass it has? If this experiment takes already decades to finish and billions of Euros, what about the next? The LHC has a circumference of 27 km and 1600 superconducting magnets weighing over 27 tonnes each, the ATLAS dectector is half as big as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and weighs about 7000 tonnes. To pinpoint the smallest fragments of the universe you have to build the biggest machine in the world.. See this 30 stunning images and other more impressive big pictures. The LHC photo above is from Maxmillion Price, (c) CERN. There are of course a number of YouTube videos, for example the following ones:

Cosmic Variance has a nice summary what the LHC will find here and PhD Comics has a series of comic strips about it (see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5). The BBC offers an introduction, and Wired describes the best- and worst case scenarios here. Finally there is a “LHC explained” video for dummies:

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