Large Hadron Collider photos


in Geek stuff, Photography, Science

Sometime this month, the first particle beams should circulate in the Large Hadron Collider: the most powerful particle accelerator ever built. To celebrate, here are some excellent photos of the 300 million Euro machine.

Here’s hoping they discover evidence of supersymmetry, once the thing really gets up to speed.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

JTanekrs August 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Have you read Professor Rossler’s latest interview with science journalist Allan Gillis at

. August 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Known and unknown unknowns

Jul 31st 2008
From The Economist print edition
The world’s largest machine is about to open for business. It will, however, only scratch the surface of the universe

WELL, it is about to happen. After more than a decade, SFr10 billion ($10 billion) and a lot of nail-biting, the first protons should spin their way into the Large Hadron Collider on August 8th. These protons will only be tests. But in a couple of months’ time, when the tests are complete, the particle-smashing will begin in earnest. At that moment the LHC, as the giant machine near Geneva is known to its friends, will take the first big step into the unknown reaches of particle physics for a quarter of a century. For, although physicists have been trying to keep themselves busy on marginal projects during this period, the truth is that the last truly fundamental subatomic particles, the W and Z bosons, were found in 1983.

. August 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm
SaneScience August 15, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Man’s technology has exceeded his grasp. – ‘The World is not Enough’
Zealous Nobel Prize hungry Physicists are racing each other and stopping at nothing to try to find the supposed ‘Higgs Boson'(aka God) Particle, among others, and are risking nothing less than the annihilation of the Earth and all Life in endless experiments hoping to prove a theory when urgent tangible problems face the planet. The European Organization for Nuclear Research(CERN) new Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is the world’s most powerful atom smasher that will soon be firing subatomic particles at each other at nearly the speed of light to create Miniature Big Bangs producing Micro Black Holes, Strangelets and other potentially cataclysmic phenomena.
Particle physicists have run out of ideas and are at a dead end forcing them to take reckless chances with more and more powerful and costly machines to create new and never-seen-before, unstable and unknown matter while Astrophysicists, on the other hand, are advancing science and knowledge on a daily basis making new discoveries in these same areas by observing the universe, not experimenting with it and with your life.
The LHC is a dangerous gamble as CERN physicist Alvaro De Rújula in the BBC LHC documentary, ‘The Six Billion Dollar Experiment’, incredibly admits quote, “Will we find the Higgs particle at the LHC? That, of course, is the question. And the answer is, science is what we do when we don’t know what we’re doing.” And CERN spokesmodel Brian Cox follows with this stunning quote, “the LHC is certainly, by far, the biggest jump into the unknown.”
The CERN-LHC website Mainpage itself states: “There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions,…” Again, this is because they truly don’t know what’s going to happen. They are experimenting with forces they don’t understand to obtain results they can’t comprehend. If you think like most people do that ‘They must know what they’re doing’ you could not be more wrong. Some people think similarly about medical Dr.s but consider this by way of comparison and example from JAMA: “A recent Institute of Medicine report quoted rates estimating that medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 people a year in US hospitals.” The second part of the CERN quote reads “…but what’s for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator,…” A molecularly changed or Black Hole consumed Lifeless World? The end of the quote reads “…as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe.” These experiments to date have so far produced infinitely more questions than answers but there isn’t a particle physicist alive who wouldn’t gladly trade his life to glimpse the “God particle”, and sacrifice the rest of us with him. Reason and common sense will tell you that the risks far outweigh any potential(as CERN physicists themselves say) benefits.
This quote from National Geographic exactly sums this “science” up: “That’s the essence of experimental particle physics: You smash stuff together and see what other stuff comes out.”
Find out more about that “stuff” below;
Popular Mechanics – “World’s Biggest Science Project Aims to Unlock ‘God Particle'” –

. August 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Large Hadron Collider probably won’t destroy Earth
Posted by David Pescovitz, June 24, 2008 11:35 AM | permalink

The Large Hadron Collider slated to be fired up in September isn’t likely to accidentally generate any Earth-devouring black holes. That’s according two new reports, including a safety review by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The world’s most powerful particle accelerator may crank out black holes, but they’ll be so tiny and vanish so quickly that we shouldn’t worry. I wonder if these reports will appease those who filed a lawsuit against CERN fearing that the machine might suck Earth into a parallel universe. From Science News:

“…It is possible that the LHC, according to one theory, could be a veritable factory of mini-black holes — no larger than a thousandth of the diameter of a proton.

That theory proposes that gravity is weak, compared to the other forces in nature, because some of it leaks out into other, hidden dimensions folded up into sizes as small as 10-17 centimeters, a tiny fraction of the diameter of a hydrogen atom.

At the high energies and small scales probed by the LHC, gravity would become much stronger than it is in ordinary three-dimensional space. Gravity could then cram enough matter together to form microscopic black holes as often as once a second.

However, such black holes, according to research first reported by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s, ought to rapidly radiate away their energy and evaporate in an instant, before doing any harm.”

Milan August 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm

producing Micro Black Holes, Strangelets and other potentially cataclysmic phenomena

It is true that the LHC might produce small black holes (which could, in turn, teach us a lot about the universe). It does not seem that these will endanger the planet, as they should be rapidly extinguished through the phenomenon of Hawking Radiation. A rogue strangelet seems to be even less likely to cause trouble.

Particle physicists have run out of ideas and are at a dead end forcing them to take reckless chances with more and more powerful and costly machines to create new and never-seen-before, unstable and unknown matter

Physicists aren’t out of ideas. They need experimental data to evaluate and refine the ideas they have: hence, my comment above about supersymmetry.

Astrophysics can certainly provide many answers that particle physics cannot (say, about the age and makeup of the universe). Of course, the converse is also true. Without particle physics, we wouldn’t know about the nature of stars or the genesis of all the atoms in the universe heavier than helium.

They are experimenting with forces they don’t understand to obtain results they can’t comprehend.

The forces are very well understood, but not yet perfectly understood. Particle physicists can tell you with fantastic precision what kinds of outcomes will be produced through different kinds of collisions. Expanding that knowledge is the major purpose of the LHC.

These experiments to date have so far produced infinitely more questions than answers but there isn’t a particle physicist alive who wouldn’t gladly trade his life to glimpse the “God particle”, and sacrifice the rest of us with him.

I take issue with all of this. Particle accelerators have already provided heaps of answers: on everything from the nature of nuclear fission and fusion to the character of subatomic particles like protons and quarks. As for the suicidal desires of scientists, your claim makes me doubt that you know any.

The phrase ‘God Particle’ is also a very regrettable one (though journalists love it). Telling members of the general public that finding the Higgs boson would complete the Standard Model or that it would “would explain the difference between the massless photon and the relatively massive W and Z bosons” isn’t likely to sell many newspapers, though it has the virtue of being true.

Higgs bosons (if they exist) have nothing to do with god. What they could be part of, however, is an explanation of the nature of the universe far more rich and useful than anything theologians have dreamed up.

. August 15, 2008 at 6:11 pm

If the Large Hadron Collider does generate black holes, they would be too tiny and short-lived to cause any damage.

Gobbled up by strangelets

Evidence for the existence of strange matter is sketchy at best; there are a few neutron stars which look too small to be made of neutronium, there are a few earthquakes which might have been caused by a microscopic strangelet passing through the Earth at high speed, but that’s about it. And even if it were possible that small stable strangelets could exist and swallow matter up in the manner described, the odds of forming one in a particle accelerator are pretty much zero.

Milan August 20, 2008 at 11:38 pm

This is quite entertaining: the Large Hadron Rap

. September 5, 2008 at 9:57 am

LHC will not destroy the universe in 5 days
By Cory Doctorow on Science

In case you’re still worried that the universe will wink out of existence in 5 days when they turn on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, rest easy: a new report from the LHC Safety Assessment Group says it ain’t gonna happen. Or, as one physicist told me when I asked about this last month while researching my Petacentres article for Nature, “Look, it’s a 10^-19 chance, and you’ve got a 10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving.”

The report explains that if particle collisions at the LHC had the power to destroy the Earth, we would never have been given the chance to exist, because regular interactions with more energetic cosmic rays would already have destroyed the Earth or other astronomical bodies. a The Safety Assessment Group writes, “Nature has already conducted the equivalent of about a hundred thousand LHC experimental programmes on Earth – and the planet still exists.”

. September 9, 2008 at 9:15 am
. September 11, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Safety of the Large Hadron Collider
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

. September 12, 2008 at 10:54 am

Reassuring children about the world’s end

By Caroline McClatchey
BBC News Magazine

There were jokes and rumours about black holes as the Large Hadron Collider was switched on. Children picked up on these fears – so how to reassure young ones about the Big Bang machine?

“What is this experiment about, Daddy, and is it going to blow up the Earth?”

That was the question many parents collided with as scientists prepared to flick the switch on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

In the run-up to the switch-on on Wednesday, doomsayers predicted the £5bn machine could create a world-ending black hole. One teenager was so terrified, she committed suicide in India.

. September 16, 2008 at 12:18 am

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