Yeah, nearly everyone I met in this cyberspace talk about this stuff these several months. Most of them chattered that this project is really fantastic. Of course its fantastic as according to them who are in charge of this project, it can give a vast contribution to the wealth of knowledge especially to the knowledge about the beginning of our universe. I’m interested too but not too eager like most of the guys all around the world (Hehehe, as I’m still busying myself with my own research😛 ). Want to know what is actually this Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Project? For them who is still haven’t get the idea about what kind of ‘creature’ is this LHC, you can click at this link below:
According to Wikipedia, The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator complex. The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.
The LHC is the world’s largest and the highest-energy particle accelerator. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over eight thousand physicists from over eighty-five countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider)
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. It planned to circulate the first beams 10th September 2008. First collisions at high energy are expected about a month later with the first results from the experiments soon after. (http://lhc-machine-outreach.web.cern.ch/)
What will the LHC do?
According to the LHC UK, this LHC will allow scientists to probe deeper into the heart of matter and further back in time than has been possible using previous colliders.
Researchers think that the Universe originated in the Big Bang (an unimaginably violent explosion) and since then the Universe has been cooling down and becoming less energetic. Very early in the cooling process the matter and forces that make up our world ‘condensed’ out of this ball of energy.
The LHC will produce tiny patches of very high energy by colliding together atomic particles that are travelling at very high speed. The more energy produced in the collisions the further back we can look towards the very high energies that existed early in the evolution of the Universe. Collisions in the LHC will have up to 7x the energy of those produced in previous machines; recreating energies and conditions that existed billionths of a second after the start of the Big Bang.
The results from the LHC are not completely predictable as the experiments are testing ideas that are at the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding. Researchers expect to confirm predictions made on the basis of what we know from previous experiments and theories. However, part of the excitement of the LHC project is that it may uncover new facts about matter and the origins of the Universe. (http://www.lhc.ac.uk/about-the-lhc/what-will-the-lhc-do.html)
The LHC also may help us to answer some mysteries about the origin of our universe (really? Hmm..). Some of those BIG Questions are:
How did our universe come to be the way it is?
The Universe started with a Big Bang – but we don’t fully understand how or why it developed the way it did. The LHC will let us see how matter behaved a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers have some ideas of what to expect – but also expect the unexpected!
Many physicists think the Universe has more dimensions than the four (space and time) we are aware of. Will the LHC bring us evidence of new dimensions?
Gravity does not fit comfortably into the current descriptions of forces used by physicists. It is also very much weaker than the other forces. One explanation for this may be that our Universe is part of a larger multi dimensional reality and that gravity can leak into other dimensions, making it appear weaker. The LHC may allow us to see evidence of these extra dimensions – for example, the production of mini-black holes which blink into and out of existence in a tiny fraction of a second.
What happened in the Big Bang?
What was the Universe made of before the matter we see around us formed? The LHC will recreate, on a microscale, conditions that existed during the first billionth of a second of the Big Bang.
At the earliest moments of the Big Bang, the Universe consisted of a searingly hot soup of fundamental particles – quarks, leptons and the force carriers. As the Universe cooled to 1000 billion degrees, the quarks and gluons (carriers of the strong force) combined into composite particles like protons and neutrons. The LHC will collide lead nuclei so that they release their constituent quarks in a fleeting ‘Little Bang’. This will take us back to the time before these particles formed, re-creating the conditions early in the evolution of the universe, when quarks and gluons were free to mix without combining. The debris detected will provide important information about this very early state of matter.
Where is the antimatter?
The Big Bang created equal amounts of matter and antimatter, but we only see matter now. What happened to the antimatter?
Every fundamental matter particle has an antimatter partner with equal but opposite properties such as electric charge (for example, the negative electron has a positive antimatter partner called the positron). Equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created in the Big Bang, but antimatter then disappeared. So what happened to it? Experiments have already shown that some matter particles decay at different rates from their anti-particles, which could explain this. One of the LHC experiments will study these subtle differences between matter and antimatter particles.
Why do some particles have mass while others don’t? What makes this difference? If the LHC reveal particles predicted by theory it will help us understand this.
Particles of light (known as photons) have no mass. Matter particles (such as electrons and quarks) do – and we’re not sure why. British physicist, Peter Higgs, proposed the existence of a field (the Higg’s Field), which pervades the entire Universe and interacts with some particles and this gives them mass. If the theory is right then the field should reveal itself as a particle (the Higg’s particle). The Higg’s particle is too heavy to be made in existing accelerators, but the high energies of the LHC should enable us to produce and detect it.
What is our Universe made of?
Ninety-six percent of our Universe is missing! Much of the missing matter is stuff researchers have called ‘dark matter’. Can the LHC find out what it is made of?
The theory of ‘supersymmetry’ suggests that all known particles have, as yet undetected, ‘superpartners’. If they exist, the LHC should find them. These ‘supersymmetric’ particles may help explain one mystery of the Universe – missing matter. Astronomers detect the gravitational effects of large amounts of matter that can’t be seen and so is called ‘Dark Matter’. One possible explanation of dark matter is that it consists of supersymmetric particles. (http://www.lhc.ac.uk/the-big-questions.html)
The LHC is now operational, and in the process of being prepared for first collisions. The first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled on 21 October 2008. Hmm… I just hope that this project will never cost any damages whether on human lives or our natural environment. So like the experts said, “Our understanding of the Universe is about to change…”. Will it be? We just wait and see..
(Most of the photos are taken from http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/08/the_large_hadron_collider.html/ and http://www.oddee.com/item_63760.aspx You can see the 3D Interactive pictures of this LHC on http://petermccready.com/portfolio/07041608.html) They are really gorgeous! Have a nice watch!!🙂