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5 Facts about the LHC (I bet you never knew!)

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5 Facts about the LHC (I bet you never knew!) was created by Seanie_Morris

As today was declared a 'momentous day' in particle/quantum physics (almost-confirmed discovery of the Higgs boson), I did the following as part of a regular feature (The Five Freaky Facts) on tonight's show:

Facts - The Large Hadron Collider

5. It houses 9,300 magnets pre-cooled to -193.2C, using 10,080 tonnes of liquid nitrogen. They are then taken down to -271.3C with liquid helium.

4. It cost £2.6bn to build.

3. The collisions generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun.

2. 600 million collisions take place every second.

1. The most powerful supercomputer system in the world was built to analyse the data generated by the LHC. It’s called the Grid and is formed from tens of thousands of interconnected computers scattered around the world. The data recorded by each of the big experiments at the LHC will fill around 100,000 and more dual-layer DVDs every year.

: blink:

How many did you know already?!

Seanie.
Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.
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10 years 4 months ago #94435

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I knew the thing about the fridge magnets :laugh: :dry:
10 years 4 months ago #94439

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Seriously....we live in an age of discovery, like no other before. our understanding of our universe and origins over the last few decades is enormous :)


signed
Amazed and agast

Co Laois
10 years 4 months ago #94440

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Replied by manic_dave on topic Re: 5 Facts about the LHC (I bet you never knew!)

I hope to live for the day when i see the cover of the Irish Times "We are not alone"
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10 years 4 months ago #94442

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The near certain discovery of the Higgs boson is a monumental achievement. No doubt the years of study of this newly found particle that will follow will prove fascinating. I don't want to downplay the importance of this fundamental scientific discovery, but it does raise some questions of a more general nature.

Will "new" physics emerge, or is this the end of the road for the standard model because achieving the energies needed to probe even deeper seems totally impractical? (I haven't a clue on this one.)

Is this the pinnacle of "big science"; can we justify such enormously expensive experiments? (I think that hugely expensive scientific projects can be justified solely on their potential to uncover new knowledge, even it has no foreseeable economic application, but that only a very few such experiments are justifiable at a time when we face so many other challenges. What should those experiments be? SETI?)

Is there too much hype around the "God particle", the "key to understanding the universe", etc.? (I think there has been too much hype for all sorts of reasons, e.g. to sell books, or an attempt to drum up public enthusiasm for science. Like politicians, scientist should be careful about the promises they make.)


I'm a chemist and have only a superficial knowledge of physics. I don't know the answers to these questions; any thoughts?

Mike
Skywatcher 120 mm ED on a CG5 mount.
Last edit: 10 years 4 months ago by mykc. Reason: Afterthoughts
10 years 4 months ago #94443

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Hi Mike,

This is a fundamental discovery that opens up many potential distributive discoveries for the future.
Its not just another discovery like finding a new variable star where there are about 100k, or 400k minor planets known.
Even a SETI discovery of first CONTACT would be fundamental. SETI has had an evolution over the decades of announcing when they expect contact.
I remember NASA SETI back in the 1970s announcing 10-15 years for contact. I remember Frank Drake head of SETI Institute announcing
in the 1990s that first contact would be about 10 years with the new antennae system in operation. I remember Jil Tarter announcing
in 2002 that first contact in about 10 years. Here we are 2012 no contact. I agree there are politics and funding issues in science
like any other science/medical research.

Eamonn
10 years 4 months ago #94447

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Replied by johnomahony on topic Re: 5 Facts about the LHC (I bet you never knew!)

It is something similar to when rutherford, Cockcroft and Walton split the atom,they probably didn't foresee nuclear power or the bomb. It we can understand what gives matter in the universe mass, it could open up the door to perhaps new propulsion systems, even a new energy source. Hard to say but this work is fundamentally important. Remember that most of the money spent is used to creat and push new technology and goes into the economies of the member countries and drives new innovations and growth.
. I'd rather spend it at CERN than give it to the Anglo Irish Bank.
The Lord giveth, the Revenue taketh away. (John 1:16)

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10 years 4 months ago #94448

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Is this the pinnacle of "big science"; can we justify such enormously expensive experiments? (I think that hugely expensive scientific projects can be justified solely on their potential to uncover new knowledge, even it has no foreseeable economic application, but that only a very few such experiments are justifiable at a time when we face so many other challenges. What should those experiments be? SETI?)


The Irish Government has repeatedly solved such a dilemma for us by refusing to join CERN (though some of our universities physics departments do contribute to experiments). CERN member states in blue:


The politics of science funding is backwards at present; largely imo due to the lack of politicians with any scientific background. If you've seen funding proposal forms, particularly here in the uk there are questions like 'What results will this experiment deliver?' 'what will the practical implications of your findings be?'. If we knew that we wouldn't be looking for finding to do experiments! Put clever people together and give them the means to experiment. It will produce something. And if experience teaches us anything, it's that whats comes out will not be what was expected. One of CERN's greatest achievements? The World Wide Web.

The cost of the LHC, probably the most expensive science experiment ever, is about €8billion. That's a much better investment than handing that kind of money over to, oh say, unsecured bondholders of bust banks.
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/
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10 years 4 months ago #94449

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It’s rare to find politicians that have a science background, with the exception of Margaret Thatcher and Dr Angela Merkel, were both scientists.
Politics in science is one thing, but having no science at the top with our politicians is a weak area for Ireland. Not only is Ireland not in CERN, it is not even a member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Every other EU nation is in ESO. The astronomy community here in Ireland including (Institutions and Universities) have been crying out for membership in the ESO for the last 20 years. Most of the 6 of the universities have astronomy/physics degree courses. The cost of membership was very little when you consider the money sloshing around during the Celtic tiger.

The attitude is,” this has a membership cost and what benefit is it for Ireland.” Although Ireland is a member of the European Space Agency there is a short term economic benefit for industry.

CERN and ESO are fundamentally dealing with pure science.

In Ireland, ministers are chosen who are TDs, TDs are elected almost exclusively who were first elected as county councillors. So then the question is, how many competent scientists do you know who would want to be county councillors and also be electable? It is a different skill set to be elected as a county councillor than a scientist. So we end up with ministers who are good at local election politicking, but not necessarily gifted in other domains.

It follows that when you have politicians without appreciation of science and its implications for future generations, there is no long term thinking or vision for the future.

Eamonn
10 years 4 months ago #94450

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