Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterThe LHC or Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest particle accelerator. Scheduled to be operational some time in November of 2009, the purpose of the experiments to be conducted there is aimed to answer many of the questions raised by the Standard Model as well as the mysteries that surround the Big Bang.
In fact, collisions to be made in the LHC are believed sufficient to recreate the conditions that were present right after the Big Bang.
Designed and constructed by the folks at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), the LHC crosses the borders of Switzerland and France. It lies some 100 meters underground and comes around in a vast 27 kilometer circumference. Although found in Europe, it was borne out of the collaborative efforts of at least 10,000 scientists and engineers from laboratories and universities around the world.
To reconstruct the conditions of the Big Bang, two beams of hadrons (protons or lead ions for this purpose) will be made to circle the LHC in opposite directions until they gain sufficient energy for the collision. Once that is achieved, they will be made to collide head-on and the particle fragments will be collected by detectors for analysis.
As of the moment, there are six experiments intended for the LHC: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS (no, they don’t build websites in this project), LHCb, TOTEM, and LHCf.
- ALICE or A Large Ion Collider Experiment is the experiment that will recreate the conditions of the Big Bang.
- ATLAS or A Toroidal LHC Apparatus is designed to investigate many physical mysteries including the elusive Higgs boson.
- CMS or Compact Muon Solenoid has the same objectives as ATLAS but will be using different technical solutions.
- LHCb or Large Hadron Collider beauty will hopefully provide answers regarding the unbalanced presence of matter and antimatter despite nature’s general design of symmetry. Right now, we are only able to see more matter than antimatter.
- TOTEM or TOTal Elastic and diffractive cross section Measurement will focus on a specific selection of experiments such as measuring the size of the proton.
- LHCf or Large Hadron Collider forward will make use of forward particles created inside the LHC in order to simulate the behaviors of cosmic rays.
Some record breaking facts regarding the LHC, aside from it being the largest particle accelerator in the world, include the following:
*It is the world’s largest freezer, using at least and nearly 60 tonnes of liquid helium to bring down the LHC’s magnets’ temperature to 1.9 K or -271.3ºC.
*It is the world’s fastest racetrack, propelling trillions of protons to dash around the LHC’s ring at speeds 99.99% that of light’s.
*As the emptiest space in the Solar System, it is able to achieve an internal pressure of 0.0000000000001 atm. For comparison, the normal atmospheric pressure at sea level is 1 atm.
We’ve got some interesting contents regarding the LHC here at Universe Today. Just click the links below:
- Large Hadron Collider Could Create Wormholes: a Gateway for Time Travelers?
- Large Hadron Collider Rap Is a Hit
Read more about the LHC on its official websites:
You might want to listen to some related episodes at Astronomy Cast as well: