Wednesday, September 10, 2008

recreating big -Bang

It is the most ambitious and expensive civilian science experiment in history, based on the biggest machine that humanity has yet built. It has sparked alarmist fears that it might create a black hole that will tear the Earth apart, and it has triggered two last-minute legal attempts to stop it. And this Wednesday, after almost two decades of planning and construction, the project in question will finally be under way.
"The first attempt to circulate a beam in the LHC will be made this Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV). The start up time will be between (9:00 to 18:00 Zurich Time) (2:00 to 10:00 CDT) with live webcasts provided at" .

"As far as we know, a very long time ago there was an enormous amount of energy that suddenly created space and time as we know it," Bob Orr, a physics professor at the University of Toronto, told CTV Newsnet on Tuesday.

"This energy degraded itself into a lot of particles, and these are the particles we see around us that make up matter. So, the stuff that you're made of is quarks and electrons that were produced in this Big Bang."

Beneath the foothills of the Jura mountains, in a network of tunnels that bring to mind the lair of a crazed Bond villain, scientists will fire a first beam of particles around a ring as long as the Circle Line on the London Underground. This colossal circuit, 17 miles (27km) in circumference, is the world’s most powerful atom-smasher, the Dollar 10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), created at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva. Some 10,000 scientists and engineers from 85 countries have been involved. In the years ahead it will recreate the high-energy conditions that existed one trillionth of a second after the big bang. In doing so, it should solve many of the most enduring mysteries of the Universe.

This extraordinary feat of engineering will accelerate two streams of protons to within 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light, so that they complete 11,245 17-mile laps in a single second. The two streams will collide, at four points, with the energy of two aircraft carriers sailing into each other at 11 knots, inside detectors so vast that one is housed in a cavern that could enclose the nave of Westminster Abbey. The detectors will trace the sub-atomic debris that is thrown off by the collisions, to reveal new particles and effects that may never have existed on Earth before. The amount of data expected from the experiments will be so huge, CERN will use 60,000 computers around the world to help calculate the results. It's called the LHC Grid.

One of the first scientific discoveries is likely to concern a theory called supersymmetry. Tejinder Virdee, of Imperial College, London, who leads the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector team, said: “What supersymmetry predicts is that, for every particle you have a partner, so it doubles up the spectrum. You have a whole new zoology of particles, if you like.”

Theory suggests that if supersymmetry is real, evidence to confirm it should emerge quickly from the LHC, possibly as soon as next year. “If it pops up it’ll be quite easy to see,” Professor Cox said.

Such a discovery might also help to explain dark matter, which is thought to account for much of the missing mass of the Universe. Only about 4 per cent of matter – galaxies and the like – is visible to our telescopes. “In this new zoology, the lightest super-symmetric particle is a prime candidate for explaining dark matter,” Professor Virdee said.

Discovery of theoretical particle called the Higgs boson, which has never been detected, but would help explain why matter has mass. The search for the Higgs could take longer, though it depends on the particle’s mass and thus the energy of the collisions in which it might be found. If it is at the heavier end of the possible range, the discovery could take as little as 12 months. A lighter Higgs would take longer to find, as the particles into which it would decay would also be lighter and harder to track.

Other potential discoveries include evidence for the existence of extra dimensions beyond the familiar three of space and one of time, and the creation of miniature (and harmless) black holes, though these are less probable. “Most of us think we’d be very lucky to find these things,” Professor Cox said.

There are two more detectors. The LHCb will investigate why there is any matter in the Universe at all, while Alice aims to study a mixture known as quark-gluon plasma, which last existed in the first millionth of a second after the big bang.

It is true that the LHC might generate black holes, but these would be minuscule and would decay immediately. As the physicist Michio Kaku has said, the LHC has as much chance of ending the world as it does of producing fire-breathing dragons. Scientists have been using particle collision devices for 30 years without incident but concerns have arisen over the LHC because of its size and power.

A report was written by five CERN physicists, who were told to review a safety assessment written by colleagues in 2003 that also gave the project the green light. “Nature has already conducted the equivalent of about a hundred thousand LHC experimental programmes on Earth – and the planet still exists,” the report says.

The beam will be circulated at injection energy (450GeV) and not accelerated to the design collision energy. Even if they did circulate beam in both directions *and collide them* (a separate activity) the total energy of collision would still be less that half of what the tevatron at Fermilab, USA, has been doing for many years. If *that* were a problem we'd already be

The LHC is one of the most exciting experiments of this or any age, yet the thing most people now know and remember about it is a frivolous half-truth. That is a pretty depressing indication of the value we place on science.

The saner voice of science is shining through, however, as Valerie Jamieson, deputy features editor of New Scientist, explains on her blog.

“Scale the cosmic ray sums up to cover the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way and the 100 billion galaxies in the visible Universe and you find that nature has already made the equivalent of 1,031 LHCs. Or if you like, 10 trillion LHCs are running every second. And we’re still here.”


This is more than an excuse for a geeky physics joke – “Is that your hadron, or are you just pleased to see me?” Hadrons are particles with mass, made up of quarks that have been bound together

Dark matter
Only about 4 per cent of the Universe is made up of visible matter. Another 25 per cent is “dark matter” – which can be inferred from its gravity, but cannot be seen. The remaining 71 per cent is still more mysterious “dark energy”. The LHC could shed light on what dark matter is, possibly through discoveries about supersymmetry

Extra dimensions
We are all familiar with four dimensions – three of space and one of time. But some theoretical physicists suggest that there could be as many as 26. Most physicists find these every bit as hard to visualise as normal people, but they make mathematical sense


my predictions... they are going to find out that they were wrong about something.
Personally to the utter chagrin of the scientist running the show they are going to prove that String Theory is right after all.

Here's a video for the ones who didn't understand anything above !

It's the LHC YO !