The CERN Supercollider - Latest Research
"The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe."
"Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC."
A History of the CERN Supercollider
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams, of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus. The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry. It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as much as 175 metres (570 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
On 10 September 2008, the proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring of the LHC for the first time. On 19 September 2008, the operations were halted due to a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets. Due to the time required to repair the resulting damage and to add additional safety features, the LHC is scheduled to be operational in mid-November 2009.
It is anticipated that the collider will demonstrate the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, the last unobserved particle among those predicted by the Standard Model. Experimentally verifying the existence of the Higgs boson would shed light on the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking, through which the particles of the Standard Model are thought to acquire their mass. In addition to the Higgs boson, new particles predicted by possible extensions of the Standard Model might be produced at the LHC...
Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that "whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."
"LHC - the aim of the exercise: To smash protons moving at 99.999999% of the speed of light into each other and so recreate conditions a fraction of a second after the big bang. The LHC experiments try and work out what happened."
"The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being built in a circular tunnel 27 km in circumference. The tunnel is buried around 50 to 175 m. underground. It straddles the Swiss and French borders on the outskirts of Geneva."
"The first beams were circulated successfully on 10th September 2008. Unfortunately on 19th September a fault developed on a small number of superconducting magnets. The repair will required a long technical intervention which overlaps with the planned winter shutdown. The LHC beam will, therefore, not see beam again before spring 2009."
After years of planning and work from physicists and engineers representing 111 nations, CERN's Large Hadron Collider is near completion. It has been under construction for 14 years and costs an estimated $8 billion. Physicists will use the machine, one of the largest and most involved ever built, to try to recreate conditions in the universe at the time of the big bang. This will hopefully help scientists figure out how the universe was formed.
One of the particles the Large Hadron Collider will search for is known as the Higgs Boson. Theorized by Peter Higgs in 1967, the Higgs Boson, also known as the God Particle, is suspected to be the particle that gives mass to everything in the universe. Scientists have never been able to physically test for the Higgs Boson and hope that the Large Hadron Collider will provide the necessary conditions for physical experiments.
The Large Hadron Collider consists of a 27 kilometer loop that lies beneath the French/Swiss boarder. The device will accelerate particles almost to the speed of light and offer observations of matter that is 10 billion times smaller than a nanometer (one millionth of a millimeter.) Scientists expect the first experiments on the Large Hadron Collider will occur this year.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/science/29collider.html?_r=2&oref=slog..., http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.particle.collisions, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/higgs.boson.cern
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