LHC makes 10 million mini-Bangs

2010-04-07 21:16

Geneva - Physicists at the Cern research centre said on Wednesday they had created 10 million mini-Big Bangs in the first week of mega-power operations of their marathon probe into the secrets of the cosmos.

Spokesperson James Gillies said the subterranean Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in which tiny particles of matter are smashed together at a fraction of a second under the speed of light, was functioning extremely well.

"It's all looking pretty good. We are getting a mass of data for the analysts in laboratories all round the world to get their teeth into, even if it could take months or years for anything really new to emerge," said Gillies.

Officials at Cern, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, are keen to get through the first two weeks at high power, recalling that in 2008, an earlier launch of the LHC at a lesser power was halted by a major coolant leak after 10 days.

Scientists keeping watch over the LHC's 27km oval-shaped ring under the Swiss-French border near Geneva said collisions were now being recorded at 100 per second, twice as many as on the first mega-power day last week.

Regarding matter

Particle beams were first injected into the LHC and then collided at a previously unattained total energy of 7 tera - or 7 million million - electron volts (TeV) on March 30 in what scientists said was a huge step forward in cosmic research.

The collisions create simulations on a tiny scale of the Big Bang, the primeval fireball 13.7 billion years ago out of which the entire cosmos - galaxies, stars, planets and eventually life as well as the universal laws of physics - emerged.

By tracking how the particles behave after colliding, Cern researchers hope to unveil secrets of the cosmos such as the make-up of dark, or invisible, matter, why matter gained mass, and if there are more dimensions to the four already known.

There could also be clues, but not before the middle of the decade after collision impact energy is doubled to 14 TeV in 2013, on whether ideas even more reminiscent of science fiction like parallel universes have any basis in reality.

This, like the additional dimensions proposition, figures marginally in the postulates of string theory - which suggests the basic ingredients of the cosmos are tiny strings of matter - over which scientists have argued for some years.

The theory also proposes the idea of supersymmetry, under which every particle has a massive unseen or shadow particle - a phenomenon that could explain why dark matter makes up nearly 25% of the universe while visible matter accounts for around only 5%.

Proponents say string physics, if shown to be correct, could provide the long-sought "general theory of everything" which would resolve contradictions between modern quantum theory and Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Read more on:    cern  |  science

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24


Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...


Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true

Today is a good day to go large with your significant other. Let go of obligations, expectations and chores and let the day play...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.