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Hadron Collider Update

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 03:54 pm

The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons.

The scientists working at the enormous machine on Franco-Swiss border achieved the unique conditions on 7 November.

The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva.

Up until now, the world's highest-energy particle accelerator - which is run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) - has been colliding protons, in a bid to uncover mysteries of the Universe's formation.

But for the next four weeks, scientists at the LHC will concentrate on analysing the data obtained from the lead ion collisions.

This way, they hope to learn more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.

One of the accelerator's experiments, ALICE, has been specifically designed to smash together lead ions, but the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments have also switched to the new mode.

'Strong force'

David Evans from the University of Birmingham, UK, is one of the researchers working at ALICE.

He said that the collisions obtained were able to generate the highest temperatures and densities ever produced in an experiment.

"We are thrilled with the achievement," said Dr Evans.


One of the lead-ion collisions at the LHC
"This process took place in a safe, controlled environment, generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

"At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma."

Quarks and gluons are sub-atomic particles - some of the building blocks of matter. In the state known as quark-gluon plasma, they are freed of their attraction to one another. This plasma is believed to have existed just after the Big Bang.

He explained that by studying the plasma, physicists hoped to learn more about the so-called strong force - the force that binds the nuclei of atoms together and that is responsible for 98% of their mass.

After the LHC finishes colliding lead ions, it will go back to smashing together protons once again.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 12,568 • Replies: 47
No top replies

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:30 pm
Thanks for the update, Boss.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:31 pm
Swooshing aside the curtain of ignorance -
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:33 pm
I'm fascinated by this sort of thing--and given how little i know of "hard science," i need articles like this to keep in touch.
eurocelticyankee
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:35 pm
@edgarblythe,
Did it create any mini black holes ?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 05:17 pm
@Setanta,
Me also.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:36 am
@edgarblythe,
I hope NOVA produces a program about this science advance. I'm very interested in it because I have so much curiosity about how things turn out before I die.

BBB
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:38 am
@edgarblythe,
Why does real science take so long. I want instant gratification. Where's that Boson?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:44 am
I got one right here in my pocket . . . i'll ship it right off to ya . . . oops . . . musta left it in my other pants . . .
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:50 am
@Setanta,
Damn those bosons are always getting lost. Sometimes I wonder if they even exist. What we need is a big ass expensive freakin science gizmo to nail em down.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:53 am
That's right . . . screw that social welfare **** . . . we need a collider as big as Texas ! ! !
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:57 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

That's right . . . screw that social welfare **** . . . we need a collider as big as Texas ! ! !

Damn right. And all we need to do to fund it is to call it a "circular GUN" and then put it in the military budget, where it will vanish into insignificance compared to the other expenses.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 12:00 pm
That's brilliant ! ! ! Hell the cost overruns on a new jet fighter would dwarf it . . .
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 12:00 pm
@Setanta,
it's a conundrum fer sure, as mankind took it's first step on the moon millions of people as well as the planet itself suffered extreme degradation and yet immensely important knowledge was gained.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 12:07 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
That's brilliant ! ! ! Hell the cost overruns on a new jet fighter would dwarf it . . .

Exactly. And even better, the military could then say they have a giant "ray gun" in their arsenal. That's gotta be worth a few macho points at least.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  0  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 08:44 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

it's a conundrum fer sure, as mankind took it's first step on the moon millions of people as well as the planet itself suffered extreme degradation and yet immensely important knowledge was gained.

Why don't you think about the relationship of that knowledge to wealth and power...The government pays for that research and gives it away to the wealthy, and we can benefit from it if we pay, but most of it is a real danger to us, and to humanity because we have no social controls over it... The reason primitives had democracy was not because it was fun, or easy... Having no modern technology they were required to manage their resources and control their behavior unless they were going to see their individuals or their enemies destroy them all...
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:00 am
@Fido,
Quote:
The reason primitives had democracy
Ah yes, the "noble savage" song and dance. Fido, you're an idiot.
Fido
 
  0  
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 08:23 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

Quote:
The reason primitives had democracy
Ah yes, the "noble savage" song and dance. Fido, you're an idiot.

No! You're an efin dumass... I hold no romantic notions like the noble savage... Savages may have been honorable, moral, Democratic, and a law unto themselves, but other than that, they were no different from us... You hear all the time that the Greeks invented democracy... The Democracy of the Greeks was faded, and on the point of failure, and they did not invent it, for it was a natural form... It came with the Family, the clan, the tribe, and the nation, and when wealth divided them, the equality of democracy was a thing of the past... And we can recreate the failed versions of democracy all we want, but if we do nothing to preserve our economic equality our political equality is doomed... We are going to have to reform this society, and if we want a democracy to endure we are going to have to find the nerve to remove the wealth from the rich and return it to the commonwealth, and if we find some reason to allow wealth in private hands we must make certain it serves a public good, and in the end is returned to the commonwealth... The difference that mattered between savages and ourselves is this: Having little technology to help them control their environment, they were forced to practive self control and live in highly organized societies... We think technology allows us anarchy... Division and anarchy will destroy us...
tsarstepan
 
  0  
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 08:31 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

I hope NOVA produces a program about this science advance. I'm very interested in it because I have so much curiosity about how things turn out before I die.

BBB

I would love to see NOVA produce something easily intellectually digestible about this project.

Thanks EB for the update.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2010 07:46 pm
Antimatter Breakthrough Could Lead to Starships, Says Scientist
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372994,00.asp

Scientists at CERN, the research facility that's home to the Large Hadron Collider, claim to have successfully created and stored antimatter in greater quantities and for longer times than ever before.

Researchers created 38 atoms of antihydrogen – more than ever has been produced at one time before and were able to keep the atoms stable enough to last one tenth of a second before they annihilated themselves (antimatter and matter destroy each other the moment they come into contact with each other). Since those first experiments, the team claims to have held antiatoms for even longer, though they weren't specific of the duration.

While scientists have been able to create particles of antimatter for decades, they had previously only been able to produce a few particles that would almost instantly destroy themselves.

"This is the first major step in a long journey," Michio Kaku, physicist and author of Physics of the Impossible, told PCMag. "Eventually, we may go to the stars."

For now, scientists are interested in producing antimatter in these relatively large quantities because it could lend insight into fundamental physical laws. It's generally believed in the scientific community that at the universe's creation, both matter and antimatter existed but not in the same quantity, so when the two annihilated each other, only matter remained. That could be because antimatter behaves differently than the regular variety.

"It's a fundamental tenet of physics that antimatter and matter behave very similarly although not exactly," said Lawrence Krauss, physicist and author of The Physics of Star Trek, in an interview. "And in order to really test that, you need anti-atoms. Being able to test the properties of antimatter at a whole new level of precision is obviously important."

Further into the future, Kaku believes we may be able to use antimatter as the "ultimate rocket fuel," since it's 100 percent efficient – all of the mass is converted to energy. By contrast, thermonuclear bombs only use about 1 percent.

"One of the main uses of antimatter would be a starship," said Kaku "Because you want concentrated energy. And you can't get more concentrated than antimatter."

Producing large quantities of antimatter is impossible today, Kaku admits. But with the right developments, he thinks it could become a reality: "These machines were not specifically designed to create antimatter. These machines are all-purpose machines. But with time, price goes down, mass production, better technology, and dedicated machines we could reduce costs considerably."
 

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