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Author Topic: Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?  (Read 7746 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« on: 09/04/2008 08:23:36 »
Peter Higgs, originator of the Higgs theory of mass acquisition of particles, will be 79 next month. He is very optimistic that the Higgs particle will be found very quickly when the LHC is switched on later this year.

One of the biggest problems with identifying the Higgs boson will be sifting through the vast amount of data produced at the LHC. There will be enough data each year to fill a stack of CDs 40 miles (65k) high!

In the early 1990s, William Waldegrave, then the Science Minister, staged a competition for the best explanation of the Higgs mechanism on a single side of paper.

The winning analogy was of Margaret Thatcher – a massive particle – wandering through a Conservative cocktail party and gathering hangers-on as she moved about.  :D

LHC factlets:-

— The LHC will smash beams of protons against one another at 0.999997828 times the speed of light. It is housed in a tunnel 17 miles long, about the same length as the London Underground’s Circle Line

— When the tunnel was cut, the ends met with only 1cm of error

— Each proton will go around the tunnel 11,245 times a second

— The proton beam will carry the equivalent energy of an aircraft carrier sailing at 11 knots

— The superconducting cables used to power the LHC would stretch around the equator 6.8 times. All the filaments would stretch to the sun and back five times, plus a few trips to the moon

— The cooling apparatus could keep 140,000 fridges full of sausages at a temperature a little above absolute zero

— The beam pipes contain a vacuum similar to that found in space.

— Engineers look for leaks so small that they would cause a car tyre to go flat in 10,000 years
« Last Edit: 09/04/2008 08:26:51 by DoctorBeaver »


 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #1 on: 09/04/2008 10:35:35 »
That is absolutely mental, are they going to power down the rest of the country so they can run it? :P
 

Offline daveshorts

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #2 on: 09/04/2008 10:38:25 »
They are not allowed to run in the winter because the electricity they use would use needs to be used to heat french homes...
 

Offline graham.d

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #3 on: 09/04/2008 12:31:01 »
Fortunately it does not run for very long at any one time.
I believe they can be very selective about the data gathered to avoid the 40 mile high cd tower. They can determine "trigger" events that can start the data gathering process for a timed period rather than just record everything that happens. I think one big problem is not the data but the bandwidth needed. Anyway, they could use DVDs ;-)
 

Offline syhprum

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #4 on: 09/04/2008 19:17:35 »
I understand that the site uses 180 Mw as a maximum, not a vast amount about as much as the four engines on 747 generate.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #5 on: 09/04/2008 21:10:43 »
Fortunately it does not run for very long at any one time.
I believe they can be very selective about the data gathered to avoid the 40 mile high cd tower. They can determine "trigger" events that can start the data gathering process for a timed period rather than just record everything that happens. I think one big problem is not the data but the bandwidth needed. Anyway, they could use DVDs ;-)

The data is to be transmitted to various sites around the world via The Grid (10,000 times faster than an average broadband connection). There isn't enough power (electrical) at CERN to run the computers needed to process it all.

Read about The Grid and LHC data processing here...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3689881.ece
 

Offline graham.d

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #6 on: 10/04/2008 09:23:33 »
Ta for the link DB. I was remembering an article in Scientific American which said...
"The nearly 100 million channels of data streaming from each of the two largest detectors would fill 100,000 CDs every second, enough to produce a stack to the moon in six months. So instead of attempting to record it all, the experiments will have what are called trigger and data-acquisition systems, which act like vast spam filters, immediately discarding almost all the information and sending the data from only the most promising-looking 100 events each second to the LHC’s central computing system at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics and the collider’s home, for archiving and later analysis."

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-discovery-machine-hadron-collider

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/2008 09:47:47 »
Graham - that is indeed the case. Without the triggers, the amount of data would be totally unmanageable. If I remember correctly, triggers reduce the possibility of finding a Higgs from 1:109 actual events to 1:104 recorded events. I'll see if I can find the chapter in my book that deals with it and then I'll post the proper figures.
 

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Higgs bosons and Margaret Thatcher. Eh?
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/2008 09:47:47 »

 

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