Thursday, December 5, 2013


The Big Bang Experiment: In Photos and Videosby Stevie Smith - Sep 12 2008, 05:12
Inside the Large Hadron Collider. Image: CERN.');

The four main points of interest that will be utilised during the LHC experiment.

ATLAS during its beam pipe installation.

ATLAS during its calorimeter installation.

ATLAS during the installation of its detector.

One of the ATLAS semi-conductor tracker barrels.

Inside the ATLAS solenoid cryostat.

Geneva:  It's being called a new beginning for our understanding of the universe and particle physics. After lengthy delays the multi-billion dollar scientific experiment to smash protons moving at near light-speed has been successful. (Read: What the Big Bang experiment part 2 is)

The experiment has taken place inside the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator near Geneva belonging to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Inside the accelerator, two beams of particles travel at close to the speed of light with very high energies before colliding with one another.

Big Bang Experiment: Possible Outcomes:
Researchers to sift through sub-atomic debris of proton collisions
Could lead to discovery of the Higgs boson (God particle)
New discoveries about the laws of physics expected
Scientists hope to make discoveries into mysterious dark matter
Scientists: Dark matter makes galaxies spin faster
Hunt For 'God Particle':
The hypothetical Higgs boson also called as the 'God particle'
Believed to have existed when the universe was born
Discovery would help explain origin of mass in universe
Scientists: Higgs is particle(s) that might give others mass
Evidence to prove Higgs exists still inconclusive
To mimic conditions moments after the Big Bang
To examine nature of matter and the origin of stars, planets
Ultimate aim to find Higgs boson, the so-called 'God particle'
By colliding protons moving at 99.999999% of the speed of light into each other
Proton beams are collided in a particle accelerator called Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider:
World's biggest, most powerful particle accelerator
Consists of a 27-km ring of superconducting magnets
Operates at Swiss-French border at a depth of 100 metres
The experiment was delayed because of a problem detected in the huge underground particle accelerator.

The $10 billion Large Hadron Collider directed the beams into each other Tuesday as part of its ambitious bid to reveal details about theoretical particles and microforces.

The collisions herald a new era for researchers working on the machine in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel below the Swiss-French border at Geneva.

"That's it! They've had a collision," said Oliver Buchmueller from Imperial College in London as people closely watched monitors.

In a control room, scientists erupted with applause when the first successful collisions were confirmed. Their colleagues from around the world were tuning in by remote links to witness the new record, which surpasses the 2.36 TeV CERN recorded last year.

Dubbed the world's largest scientific experiment, scientists hope the machine can approach on a tiny scale what happened in the first split seconds after the Big Bang, which they theorize was the creation of the universe some 14 billion years ago.

The extra energy in Geneva is expected to reveal even more about the unanswered questions of particle physics, such as the existence of antimatter and the search for the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle that scientists theorize gives mass to other particles and thus to other objects and creatures in the universe.

Tuesday's initial attempts at collisions were unsuccessful because problems developed with the beams, said scientists working on the massive machine. That meant that the protons had to be "dumped" from the collider and new beams had to be injected.

The atmosphere at CERN was tense considering the collider's launch with great fanfare on September 10, 2008. Nine days later, the project was sidetracked when a badly soldered electrical splice overheated, causing extensive damage to the massive magnets and other parts of the collider some 300 feet (100 meters) below the ground.

It cost $40 million to repair and improve the machine. Since its restart in November 2009, the collider has performed almost flawlessly and given scientists valuable data. It quickly eclipsed the next largest accelerator -- the Tevatron at Fermilab near Chicago.

Two beams of protons began 10 days ago to speed at high energy in opposite directions around the tunnel, the coldest place in the universe, at a couple of degrees above absolute zero. CERN used powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross, creating collisions and showers of particles.

"Experiments are collecting their first physics data -- historic moment here!" a scientist tweeted on CERN's official Twitter account.

"Nature does it all the time with cosmic rays (and with higher energy) but this is the first time this is done in Laboratory!" said another tweet.

When collisions become routine, the beams will be packed with hundreds of billions of protons, but the particles are so tiny that few will collide at each crossing.

The experiments will come over the objections of some people who fear they could eventually imperil Earth by creating micro black holes -- subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

CERN and many scientists dismiss any threat to Earth or people on it, saying that any such holes would be so weak that they would vanish almost instantly without causing any damage.

Bivek Sharma, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, said the images of the first crashed proton beams were beautiful.

"It's taken us 25 years to build," he said. "This is what it's for. Finally the baby is delivered. Now it has to grow." (With AP inputs)
Scientists trying to the crack the fundamental laws of physics on Tuesday said they had recreated in miniature the conditions just after the start of the universe, without bringing the world to an end.
In a groundbreaking moment, researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva combined two opposing beams of sub-atomic particles travelling at almost the speed of light as they attempted to simulate events in the fraction of a second after the “Big Bang”, the most widely accepted theory.

After several false starts early on Tuesday, scientists just before 1pm local time brought together the two proton beams that had been running in alternate directions in the collider’s 27km loop in a vacuum at minus 271°C. The resulting heat was equivalent to 100,000 times that generated by the sun.
The success triggered rounds of applause and cheers from the scientists and journalists gathered in the circular control room, while allaying concerns that the experiment would create a black hole and destroy the universe.
Sixteen months after glitches brought the collider’s first effort to a halt, the breakthrough sparked worldwide interest, sharply slowing down a live webcast – and briefly outranking the singer Ricky Martin, who declared his homosexuality on Twitter during the day – as the collider recruited 100,000 Twitter followers.
Rolf Heuer, director-general of Cern, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics where the collider project is based, said: “It’s a great day to be a particle physicist. A lot of people have waited a long time for this moment, but their patience and dedication is starting to pay dividends.”

The breakthrough heralds the beginning of a new era in efforts to try to understand profound scientific questions, including whether the sub-atomic particles – quarks – inside the protons and neutrons can be freed; and why these latter particles weigh some 100 times more than the quarks of which they are composed.
The protons in the LHC, which requires 100 megawatts of power to operate, collided at more than 7 tera – or trillion – electronvolts (TeV), a measure of energy given to an electron as it accelerates through a potential of one volt. This was more than triple the levels of previous experiments.

Nearly three decades after the project was first discussed, and 15 years after construction of the SFr6.5bn collider began, the breakthrough signals the start of at least 18 months of experiments at the current energy levels, and still longer periods of analysis using “the Grid”, a vast international network of computers that will process 15m gigabytes of data a year. A paper released by Cern earlier this month concluded that “there can be little doubt that black hole production at the [Large Hadron Collider] would be an unacceptable and irresponsible risk”.
But officials were quick to argue on Tuesday that neutron stars showed these conditions would be safely reproduced in the collider.
“We are not doing anything that nature has not done before,” said a spokeswoman. “Nature shows us by the existence of neutron stars that we will not recreate black holes.”
Experiments with the Large Hadron Collider began in September 2008 but had to be halted after a fault damaged the magnets in the equipment.
The original objective was to reach 14 TeV, but in order to avoid a repetition of these problems, researchers will operate the collider at half that level for 18 months before a technical shut down and analysis. An attempt to reach the maximum level is only likely to take place in two or three years’ time.

Cern said it would know by Wednesday the number of internet users who visited its website on Tuesday to follow the project. The previous experiment in 2008 attracted 100m users.
Once they have “rediscovered” sub-atomic particles which have already been observed in the so-called Standard Model, the four separate experiments associated with the collider will start seeking the Higgs boson, a hypothetical elementary particle – sometimes dubbed God’s Particle – which has been postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in current theoretical physics to help explain the origin of mass.

Largest machine, smallest particles

● Although built to study the smallest known building blocks of all things – particles – the Large Hadron Collider is the largest and most complex machine ever made. It contains 9,300 magnets and has a circumference of 27km (17 miles)
● At full power, trillions of protons race around the LHC accelerator ring 11,245 times a second, travelling at 99.99 per cent of the speed of light. It is capable of engineering 600m collisions every second
● To avoid colliding with gas molecules inside the accelerator, the beams of particles travel in an ultra-high vacuum – a cavity as empty as interplanetary space
● The cooling system circulates super-fluid helium around the LHC’s accelerator ring and keeps the machine at minus 271.3 degrees Celsius
● When two beams of protons collide, they generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the sun, concentrated within a miniscule space
● To collect data of up to 600m proton collisions per second, physicists and scientists have built electronic trigger systems to measure the passage time of a particle to a few billionths of a second
● The data recorded by the LHC’s big experiments will fill about 100,000 dual-layer DVDs every year. Tens of thousands of computers have been harnessed in a network called The Grid that will hold the information
● Thousands of scientists around the world will collaborate on analysing the data over the next 15 years (the estimated lifetime of the LHC)

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