Posts Tagged 'LHC'

Beam Day for the LHC!

Today is the day!  The first beam of protons in the Large Hadron Collider will be circulated today at about 2 AM Central Time, September 10th.  This is a big milestone for high energy physics, and you can find information about it all over the blogosphere and the internet at large.  I recommend that you check here for Cosmic Variance’s liveblog, and the CERN website for information on the startup, as well as a live webcast.  Not sure exactly what they’ll be showing on the webcast, but if your an insomniac (or a European), and you’re looking for some physics-related entertainment (and who isn’t?), it should be worth checking out.

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First Protons in the LHC this Weekend!

As reported by Scientific American:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), nearing readiness outside Geneva, Switzerland, was designed to smash protons together at the highest energies ever achieved in hopes of unlocking new secrets of the universe. But to date, all that’s traveled through its circular beam pipe are ping-pong balls to test for obstructions.

That’s all about to change. This weekend, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, plans to test a key component of the accelerator by injecting a low-intensity beam of protons clockwise into the LHC and letting it travel three kilometers (two miles) through the machine.

Assuming all goes as planned, the lab announced today that it will send the first beam around all 27 kilometers (17 miles) of pipe on September 10, the machine’s official start-up date.

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Rooting for the LHC

With the Large Hadron Collider coming online soon, people are starting to discuss what might discoveries might be made there and when we can expect results.  (Well, at least it’s starting to be discussed in the blogosphere as well as in more popular news outlets.  Experts in the field have of course been discussing these things for much longer.)  Sean Carroll at Cosmic Variance has the most interesting take that I’ve seen for a semi-informed audience.  He even gives odds on various discoveries that may or may not be found at the LHC.  It’s a very interesting and entertaining article, and I recommend that you read it, if you haven’t already.  So… time to start placing your bets!

I’m actually kind of surprised that I can’t seem to find any online bookies taking bets on the results at the LHC.  In addition to the odds posted on Cosmic Variance about what new discoveries will be made, there’s a bunch of other stuff to bet on: What’s the over-under on the Higgs mass?  When will it be found?  What will the doomsday prophets say when we’re not eaten by micro black holes?

Anyway, in spite of the lack of traditional betting on the LHC, many particle theorists have much more at stake on the experiments at CERN: the validity of their work throughout their careers.  With the new range of energies to be explored, the plethora of predictions that theorists have made over the last few decades will begin to sort themselves out.  With all this at stake, it’s only natural that each scientist is probably rooting for a spectacular confirmation of his pet theory within the next few years.

As a student preparing to enter the field of theoretical particle physics, the results at the LHC have a large amount of personal meaning for me as well. Continue reading ‘Rooting for the LHC’

LHC Rap Video

You might have seen this already, but it’s just too good not to post:

The vibe is decidedly old school, with straight delivery reminiscent of early rappers like Kurtis Blow or the Sugar Hill Gang.  (In fact, since the rapper is a woman, it actually kind of reminds me of Blondie’s foray into hip hop, if you can call it that.)  And for some reason, they decided to resurrect one of the most annoying samples in hip hop’s history, the “Hoo! Yeah!” from Rob Base’s “It Takes Two.”

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Interesting Look into the Guts of the LHC

With the Large Hadron Collider scheduled to inject its first protons sometime in August, there have been plenty of articles written about it. Most of these articles are either aimed at the popular or scholarly levels, with little in between for the interested semi-knowlegeable student.  (And don’t forget the important question of whether tiny black holes produced in the LHC will eat our world.)

Well, John from Cosmic Variance has bridged the gap with an excellent article about his personal involvement with one of the detectors in the CMS experiment.  Even though I am generally not all that into “tech specs” about such experiments, I enjoyed this peek inside the actual life of the LHC.

It’s mind-boggling to think about the size of the LHC project.  Looking at the complexity and care involved in this one component, and extrapolating this to the thousands of other components involved in the experiment really brings you face-to-face with the magnitude of this undertaking.

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