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"It’s The End Of The World As We Know It"*

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on November 15, 2010 in Large Hadron Collider, Technology |

It’s about time for an update on my favorite science project, the Large Hadron Collider. Seeing as we’re all still here, I don’t think I need to tell you that it hasn’t opened up a black hole. Phew!

Actually, the LHC has been working so well that scientists have started smashing lead ions together instead of just plain-old protons. What does this mean? Basically, smashing lead ions at super speeds creates tiny Big Bangs that will shed some light on what happened immediately after the Universe was created by the big Big Bang. (Something you’ve all been dying to know about!)

Aside from the fact the the LHC studies very, very, very, very, very small particles, everything else about this project is big: the price tag ($10 billion), the number of countries involved (34), the temperatures created by the collisions (a million times hotter than the sun), the speed the particles move (just slightly below the speed of light), etc…

Scientists have not found the elusive Higgs boson (a.k.a. the God Particle) yet, but once they start smashing protons again in February, they hope that by the end of 2011 they will have proof that this particle exists.

Aside from unlocking the great mysteries of the Universe, the LHC could find additional dimensions beyond the four known ones. (What happened to the good old days when there were only three dimensions?)

*R.E.M.

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7 Comments

  • C.R. Evers says:

    Can we get college credits for reading your blog? I feel smarter just for reading your post.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have some lead ions to smash at a super-speedy rate.

    Christy

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Hey Christy! I was hoping you'd catch the latest news on the LHC.

    I'm afraid I can only give you honorary credits for reading, but if you succeed in smashing those ions, I bet there are bigger prizes in store for you. LOL!

  • Nautilus says:

    Awesome! I did not know about the recent mini-bang.

    I'm not worried about creation of black holes, but I wonder if a big bang could be created that would interfere with our universe.

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Nautilus. Let's hope nothing crazy happens from the mini Big Bangs…unless it's something really cool…like we all get super powers!

  • Nautilus says:

    Well, considering that the big bang likely led to a seed of pure energy trillions of degrees hot, and almost infinitely dense, before expanding and creating electrons and such, then expanding to become our universe, I'm thinking a second big bang created inside a shallow tunnel in Earth will pretty much destroy us.

    But I would be super-cool with new powers. I'd like to be able to create my own stable wormholes, at will. And you'd like…?

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Stable wormholes at will would be cool…that way you could pretty much go anywhere in the Universe at any point in the history or the future.

    This is gonna sound really unimaginative, but I want to be able to fly. And I want to be able to do this without wings.

    I sometimes have these dreams where I'm floating through the sky or diving at the ground and I pull up at the last minute. It's always so disappointing to wake up and realize I can't do that at all.

  • Nautilus says:

    Hmm, a desire for the ability to fly is popular, but I've never had that wish.

    I have had dreams in which I had bionic parts so I ran super-fast, picked up cars, etc.

    Of course that was after watching "The Bionic Woman".

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