For quick facts and a better summary than I could manage, look here!
This morning at 8:30am GMT, the world’s largest and one of the most important physics experiments was switched on. The Large Hadron Collider, situated on the Swiss/Franco border, near Geneva, and found 100m underground, the 27km long circular tube began accelerating small particles of matter to speeds close to the speed of light. Two beams of protons are fired in opposite through a vacuum at temperatures colder than those found in deep space. It’ll take about a month for them to reach the speeds wanted before they allow the two beams to overlap, and let the protons collide – at these high energies, it is hoped that a new particle will be discovered – the Higgs Boson.
After about 40 years of colliding protons elsewhere in the world, the existence of the ‘God particle’ has still not been confirmed – now, on a much larger scale, physicists believe that they will be found. If they are, it’ll prove many theories that are surround physics – e.g. the Higgs field; it’ll explain why some objects have mass, while others don’t. But, even if nothing is found, it’ll still be useful – it’d show us that we have severely misunderstood something; that one of their assumptions is wrong, allowing them to rethink and rediscover, which may lead to the right answer.
CERN and the LHC will be a major stepping stone as physicists search for an ever simpler and more ‘beautiful’ solution to the puzzles of our universe.
Watch the videos below for a better explanation than I could write!
CERN in 3 minutes:
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Why not learn about CERN in rap form?
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