Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Perfecting The "Big Bang" Machine

Just in case people have forgotten about the LHC, here's a news article appearing on the CNN website today covering it one more time.

Enthusiasm for the Large Hadron Collider built last summer as the world anticipated the startup of the colossal machine, which will recreate conditions of the universe shortly after it was created in the Big Bang so scientists can study how the universe evolved.

Interest grew as rumors circulated on the Internet that the collider's power would generate a black hole which would swallow the Earth. These rumors were widely discredited by the scientific community. CERN scientists released a report explaining that any black hole created would be tiny, and would not have enough energy to stick around very long before dissolving.

Scientists and skeptics alike eagerly awaited the circulation of the first proton beam around the 17-mile tunnel, which happened successfully on September 10.

But just days after this success, disaster struck. While about 9,999 out of 10,000 electrical connections between magnets in the accelerator worked well, one did not, which "made a mess of the magnets," said Joseph Lykken, theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, who works on CMS.

Have to make sure it is still in the public's mind, y'know. It does mean that when it finally powers up later this year, there will be such tremendous attention and scrutiny, both from the scientific community and the public, that I don't think anything short of a smooth ramp up operations leading to first collisions will be good news.


1 comment:

coraifeartaigh said...

Possibly the new Dan Brown film 'Angels and Demons' will be helpful in keeping interest up