Skip to main content

Hey, We're Not Dead

In true nerd fashion, folks here celebrated the Large Hadron Collider's world premeire the only way we knew how, with a proton beam ignition party.

After staying up all night and witnessing (in real-time) the first particle beam sucessfully make its way around the 17-mile loop of accelerator, there we sat as the sun came up, in our pjs, amid remnants of mimosas, donuts, bagels, waffles, chocolate chips and whipped cream, when we realized, hey, we weren't dead! Shortly followed by, hey, the LHC works! A few of us lost bets on that one.

In any case, a night of sing-a-longs, gorging on food and drink, and sporadic chants of "CMS and Atlas are one of a kind, they're looking for whatever particles they can find" was fitting tribute to a historic and exciting event.

CERN scientists shot two beams of protons in one direction around the LHC, a ring-like tunnel running under the French-Swiss border containing over 1,600 superconducting magnets.

The magnets allow scientists to steer the proton beam around the ring like a giant video game. Of course, since the beam is zipping around at nearly the speed of light, controlling it is easier said than done.

Since the beams were fired in one direction, no collisions occured. But over the next few weeks, scientists will steer two proton beams traveling in opposite directions around the collider.

The beams will smash together and create new particles that haven't existed since start the of universe, the Big Bang.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know:
"What's going on in this video? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream.

(We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux)

Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?