Tags: big bang, CERN, Doomsday, Doomsday collision, Europe's CERN lab, first collisions, first collisions subatomic particles, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, subatomic particles
The first collisions between subatomic particles will take place in the giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) next week, among fears that it might create a doomsday-like scenario for our planet.
The LHC circulates particles in a 17-mile circumference underground tunnel straddling the French-Swiss border at The European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland, known by the acronym CERN.
According to a report in Telegraph, although there was much uproar last week about the first particles – protons – to whirl around the LHC at a shade under the speed of light, the real aim of the exercise is to bring counter rotating beams of particles into collision in the four “eyes” – detectors – of the machine to recreate conditions not seen since just after the birth of the universe.
This is the aspect of the experiment that has triggered all the angst and hand-wringing by doomsayers and Jeremiahs, who fear that the collisions will mark the end of the world, as it tumbles into the gaping maw of a black hole.
These fears have been dismissed as nonsense by Dr Evans, along with scientists such as Prof Stephen Hawking, who say that the end of the world is not nigh.
The original plan was to take 31 days from the first proton beams circulating in the LHC to smashing protons for the first time.
“We were going along at a real good lick,” Dr Evans said of the days after particles first circulated.
But, the cryogenics that keep the great machine cooled went down on Friday, as a result of thunderstorms disrupting the power supply.
“We have had problems with the electricity supply for various reasons and the cryogenics is recovering from that, so we will not have a beam again, probably until Thursday morning,” said Dr Evans.
The team now hopes to achieve collisions at between one fifth and one tenth of the full energy in a few days.
“We are very confident that we can go quite quickly. The experiments have asked us for some early collisions, at low energy. If we get stable conditions, we will get there next week,” said Dr Evans.
The collisions will take place in the two general purpose detectors of the giant machine, called Atlas and CMS, though Dr Evans added that the team will also attempt collisions in Alice, which will study a “liquid” form of matter, called a quark-gluon plasma, that formed shortly after the Big Bang, and an experiment called LHCb, which will investigate the fate of antimatter in the wake of the Big Bang.
Tags: big bang, big bang experiment, CERN, Europe's CERN lab
Concerns have been raised that turning on, the LHC could lead to the ultimate destruction of the earth and the universe, and hence the research should be stopped. However, all these negative speculations have been played down by CERN..
IF CRITICS are to be believed, the end of the universe will begin by the coming Wednesday, September 10, when the most powerful atom-smasher ever built comes into action, located 300 feet underground near the French-Swiss border. It will be the world’s biggest scientific experiment till date to know how the universe was born, speculations are rife that it will trigger the end of the world and the universe.
All this fuss is related to the experiment that will commence on September 10 when the physicists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), located near Geneva, will switch on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is a $10 billion and a 17-mile long particle accelerator lying in a circular tunnel beneath the border of France and Switzerland. The moment it gets switched on, the atom-smasher will become a virtual time machine, revealing what happened when the universe came into existence 14 billion years ago.
One of the chief goals of the LHC experiment is to find the elusive Higgs boson, the only fundamental particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics that has not been directly observed. The Higgs boson plays a key role in explaining the origins of the mass in other elementary particles. They hope to shed some light on the invisible material that exists between particles known as “dark matter” as a little is known about it, which make upmost of the universe.
With the discovery of new particles, the scientists aim to recreate the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big and provide vital clues to the building blocks of life. The scientists involved in this project have waited for this moment for two decades and they are on the verge of creating history, but the research team is against the protests and demonstrations by the critics who have dubbed this as a Doomsday test.
Concerns have been raised that turning on the LHC could lead to the ultimate destruction of the earth and the universe, and hence the research should be stopped. TV news channels and tabloids have come up with their own theories of mass destruction and end of life speculations, that have created an environment of uncertainty and unnecessary panic world wide. It has also been reported that some scientists working for CERN have been receiving threatening e-mails and text messages to stop from moving ahead with their dream project.
The critics are of the opinion that the world’s largest particle accelerator will produce fearsome entities that would result in energies being developed which will be powerful enough to create a runaway Black Hole that could consume the earth in no time. There have been even petitions in the Courts to put a break on this project on the ground of saving the earth and mankind. There have been two lawsuits, one American and another European, against this experiment, but their attempts have been rejected by the concerned Courts.
However, the group responsible for the experiment, CERN, says that these mini black holes will vanish as quickly as they are created. All these negative speculations have been played down by CERN and the whole issue has been validated as completely safe, with more dangerous cosmic rays constantly found in nature than could ever be produced by the machine. The head of PR, James Gillies apparently is inundated with people fearing for their lives, and said- “I find myself getting slightly angry with the fact that people have been driven to do what is nonsense. What we are doing is enriching humanity, not putting it at a risk.”
At the same time, the Safety Assessment Group, which has conducted an indepth study into the potential impact of the machine writes- “Each collision of a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes, so any black hole produced would be much smaller than those known to astrophysicists.” Another report termed this “end of the world rumor” as bogus and said that cosmic ray collisions are more energetic than those produced in the LHC, therefore LHC experiment shouldn’t be looked up as a fear.
CERN also issued a report revealing that, even if a black hole is to form, it would rapidly evaporate due to Hawking Radiation. The CERN director general, Robert Aymar, said that the LHC will enable us to study in detail what nature is doing all around us and any suggestion that it might pose a risk to earth and mankind is a pure fiction.
Now, if the people involved in the project come out with such clarifications, the doubt should probably get cleared because they are the ones who will be closest to the site of danger, if there is any.
Every research or experiment has its own pros and cons and if we sit back for the fear of “something”, then we are not going to venture into new horizons. Had the earlier researchers and general people would have thought on the same line of safe passage, then we would have still been living on stone edge.
Let us hope that something fruitful comes out of the expedition and the fear of calamity be drowned. And if there is no such calamity, as is feared, then we will probably learn all sorts of exciting new things about the nature of the universe. Exactly what comes out of these collisions, and how it behaves, will hopefully make us more knowledgeable and the new findings may be utilized for th betterment of life.
Tags: 10 september 2008, big bang, big bang experiment, black hole, CERN, Europe's CERN lab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, september 10 big bang
The Earth is not at risk of being sucked into a black hole, a safety report into the world’s most powerful particle physics experiment has found.
Scientists at Europe’s CERN lab plan to use the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to smash highly-energised protons together at super-fast speeds to produce miniature versions of the Big Bang.
The collisions will create temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the sun.
The Large Hadron Collider straddles the French and Swiss borders. Scientists hope it will reveal what happened to particles moments after the big bang
The machine will be operated undergound in a 27km long tunnel near Geneva and detectors will trace and analyse the particles that emerge from the collisions.
Physicists hope it will help answer profound questions such as ‘What is the origin of mass?’ and ‘What is 96 per cent of the universe made up of?’
But some critics fear the collider could create microscopic black holes that could swell and end up eating the whole world.
However, the safety review from the European Organization for Nuclear Research said there was no ‘conceivable danger’ of this.
Black holes drag in matter from their surroundings. Some critics fear the collider could create a miniature black hole that could swell and swallow the Earth
Although the researchers admitted the collider will achieve energy levels no other man made technology has created before, they said natural cosmic-ray collisions had already created higher energies with no ill effects.
‘Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists,’ they said.
The review panel added that astronomical black holes are much heavier than anything that could be produced in the collider.
They said even if the well-established properties of gravity were disproved and microscopic black holes were created – these particles would disintegrate immediately giving them no time to draw in outside matter.
The strange world of strangelets
The report also addressed concerns raised in 2000 that the machine could produce hypothetical particles called strangelets. These strange particles could turn nuclei in ordinary atoms into strange matter – destroying the Earth in a doomsday scenario.
In 2003, Dr Adrian Kent, from the University of Cambridge, argued that scientists had not adequately calculated the strangelets risk.
But the team led by theoretical physicist John Ellis said previous experiments had failed to produce these strangelets, and the heat produced by the collider would make their creation even less likely.
They concluded: ‘There is no basis for any concerns about the consequences of new particles or forms of matter that could possibly be produced by the LHC.’
The new document is an update of the analysis carried out in 2003 into the safety of the collider by an independent team of scientists.
The LHC was due to switch on in November 2007 but the start-up has been postponed several times. The first delay occurred after an accident in March 2007 when one of the 9,300 magnets exploded during testing and the facility was evacuated.
Further delays occurred after plaintiffs requested an injunction against the LHC’s switch-on from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii over safety fears.