Discuss: The Large Hadron Collider

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Offline thedoc

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Discuss: The Large Hadron Collider
« on: 07/09/2008 10:03:41 »
The biggest science experiment in the world- The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, will start on September 10th. So this week we peer inside a proton and discover how the LHC works to help scientists in the search for antimatter and the elusive 'Higgs boson'. Plus, we unlock the genetic key to a happy marriage, explore what giant clams can reveal about our ancestors and hear why bats silence themselves to avoid traffic jams. Plus, in Kitchen Science, Ben and Dave get dizzy with the science of spinning!
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Offline Lynda

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Discuss: The Large Hadron Collider
« Reply #1 on: 08/09/2008 22:40:01 »
Thanks for discussing this on yesterday's show.     

Will this thing ever be switched off - perhaps in years to come?     Then we will breathe a sigh of relief!     

I thought it was switched on a few weeks ago - or was it turned on then but only starting to rev up to the "collide" on Wednesday?    I am puzzled!
Only when the last tree has died & the last river has been poisoned & the last fish has been caught will we realise that we can not eat money


Offline Bored chemist

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Discuss: The Large Hadron Collider
« Reply #2 on: 09/09/2008 20:02:21 »
It's a truly magnificent bit of science and engineering but what strikes me is how come the press have become obsessed with a daft idea.

We want to study interactions between perticles at very high energies . OK I accept that this is, of itself, not much of a goal.
On the other hand a few week ago the press was full of stories of people who were running round in circles to see how fast they could go or swimming through big long pools of water rather than getting out and walking briskly along the side (which would have been quicker)
They called it the Olympics.

Humans do things "just because they can". Nothing new there; some bunch of people decided to see what would happen when they crashed a couple of particles into eachother really fast. (A bit like kids playing with train sets I guess)..

Now, if we were patient we wouldn't need to build the accelerator. We would just need the detector (that's a very impressive bit of kit too).

Some of you think I have lost the plot here.
No, it's perfectly simple. We just build the detector the put a vacuum pipe above it and wait for a cosmic ray particle of the right energy to crash through our detector.
Of course that wouldn't happen very often.
We could build lots of detectors but they are very expensive.
So we decided to make our own "cosmic" ray particles.

That's all- we are copying something that nature does anyway (and we are not doing as good a job- nature works with higher energies than we can get to).
Why in the name of all that's holy did someone think that, because mankind is doing this, the result would be any different to the result of nature doing it zillions of times over the ages?

It didn't destroy the earth the last time this experiment was done, or any of the zillion times it was done before; why should it this time?
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Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Discuss: The Large Hadron Collider
« Reply #3 on: 10/09/2008 13:03:07 »

Why the LHC
A few unanswered questions...
The LHC was built to help scientists to answer key unresolved questions in particle physics. The unprecedented energy it achieves may even reveal some unexpected results that no one has ever thought of!

For the past few decades, physicists have been able to describe with increasing detail the fundamental particles that make up the Universe and the interactions between them. This understanding is encapsulated in the Standard Model of particle physics, but it contains gaps and cannot tell us the whole story. To fill in the missing knowledge requires experimental data, and the next big step to achieving this is with LHC.
Science is continually evolving. Nothing is set in stone. Question everything and everyone. Always consider vested interests as a reason for miss-direction. But most of all explore and find answers that you are comfortable with