CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

I must say, I am getting a little bored of all of the people who are proclaiming that the World will end on Wednesday 10th September 2008 when CERN activate their Large Hadron Collider.

T’is pure piffle; the chances of that happening are absolutely minuscule – especially when there are similar (though admittedly smaller) particle colliders in operation today that have operated without incident for years. Although they can’t say for sure exactly what will happen, they have a rough idea (i.e. that means they’re probably 98% certain!) of what they think will occur, and a huge ‘Black Hole’ is certainly not one of those things.

On Wednesday 10th September, all that CERN are doing is bringing the machine online and firing the protons around in an anti-clockwise direction to test the system strength etc. before they run the same test in a clockwise direction later in the month. It should be about mid-October before any of the particle smashing actually starts to happen.

Back in August, they managed to get the magnets cooled to the required minus 271oC and sent a low-intensity proton beam partially around the ‘track’. Wednesday 10th September will mark the first time that a proton beam has completed a full circuit of the ‘track’. As the full circuit has not been tested in it’s entirety, there’s every chance that they may not even manage one complete circuit and thus they may have to do some additional tinkering with the magnets etc, which could possibly take some time. Once they successfully have the beam going round once, they will close the circuit and allow it to continuously traverse the ‘track’.

The fact that those protons will be wizzing around a 17 mile tunnel 11,000 times per second is one statistic that I cannot even begin to comprehend though! Blimey!

For the Science geeks amongst us, I found a BBC Four programme called “The Big Bang Machine” to be fantastic on explaining what’s going on, what they hope to achieve along with some stunning images of the apparatus they’ll be using and images from previous experiments with particle physics. A definite ‘one to watch’ if you’d like to see the ‘full’ story on how it’s all going to work.

The Big Bang Machine” on BBC iPlayer.

I also came across a link to this website posted on an internet forum that I frequent from time-to-time. The piece is, of course, a satire/spoof, and a marvellously funny one at that hehe! By “… your favourite celebrities” I was laughing a little too loudly at work! Hehe.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the remarkable images that this experiment is sure to produce and seeing what information we think that we can take from it.

Although I am at odds with the never-ending speculation that the World is in danger due to this, I do think that it’s great that this experiment has captured the imagination and spirit of so many people. Hurrah!

NB: I’d heartily recommend that folk never make the mistake of mis-spelling the word ‘Hadron’ when searching Google Images as it can get VERY embarrassing when you’re at work – OOPS! –  hehe 😛

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.