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Large Hadron Collider successfully creates mini Big Bangs


Humodour

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Scientists at the world's largest atom smasher are getting their first look at the conditions which existed moments after the big bang of creation.

 

Physicists working on the ALICE experiment in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), under the Franco-Swiss border, have started smashing heavy lead ions together at close to the speed of light - in a process recreating the universe as it was 13.7 billion years ago.

 

The successful collision of lead ions in the accelerator at record energies allows matter to be probed as it would have been in the first moments of the universe's existence.

 

Dr David Evans from the University of Birmingham describes the collisions as mini big bangs, creating the highest temperatures and densities ever achieved in an experiment.

 

Dr Evans says it is generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over 10 trillion degrees - a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

 

"At these temperatures even protons and neutrons (which make up the nuclei of atoms) melt - resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a Quark-Gluon Plasma," he said.

 

By studying this plasma, physicists hope to learn more about the strong nuclear force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

 

The others are the weak nuclear force, the electromagnetic force and gravity.

 

Dr Evans says the strong force not only binds the nuclei of atoms together but is responsible for 98 per cent of their mass.

 

"I now look forward to studying a tiny piece of what the universe was made of just a millionth of a second after the big bang," he said.

 

This new phase of the LHC program comes after seven months of successfully colliding hydrogen proton packets at high energies.

 

Extreme conditions

 

The 10,000 ton ALICE experiment has been specifically designed to study the extreme conditions produced in these lead-ion collisions.

 

It is one of four main detectors on the giant 27-kilometre underground ring designed to offer up insights about the earliest moments in our universe's life.

 

Dr Stephen Myers, the director of accelerators and technology at CERN is in Australia at the moment.

 

He says the high energy levels involved in lead ion collisions means things could start happening very quickly.

 

"Lead ions are much more complicated particles than hydrogen protons and so it's a very exciting time."

 

"We're slamming these ions into each other at over 99.9 per cent of light speed but it's not the speed, it's the huge mass and energy levels which is important," he said.

 

Until now the main thrust of the LHC has been the search for the Higgs Boson the so called god particle that is thought to generate a Higgs field which would give all other particles their mass.

 

But Dr Myers points out other important experiments are also being carried out, including the search for antimatter, dark matter and supersymmetry.

 

"It's all about finding new physics, that's why we built the LHC," he said.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11...m?section=world

 

This is good. Really, really good. We've now got rock solid proof of certain previously metaphysical theories in physics. This data is going to produce the same kinds of seismic shifts in physics that Einstein's theories of relativity did. And that's going to have positive repercussions for technology (and thus society) in general.

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Guest The Architect

Yeah this is fantastic.

 

The biggest surprise, The New Scientist says, is that the resulting soup wasn't gas, but instead a "perfect liquid."

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/1...-mini-big-bangs

 

I found this part really interesting. How do you define a perfect liquid, what exactly is that supposed to mean? And why didn't the 10 trillion degree "perfect liquid" material melt the whole thing down?

 

It'll be fascinating to find out what happened to the Quark-Gluon plasma "soup" after the collision. Speaking of collision, it makes me stop and think, what, or maybe even... who was it that caused the ion collision of our universe?

 

Maybe one day we'll be able to see the edge of the universe and it'll be someone else's large hadron collider hahaha.

 

Having said all this, the mini big bangs created in this groundbreaking experiment are nothing compared to the big bang that'll happen when my large hardon collider collides with Krezack.

Edited by The Architect
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In the event you were being facetious Morgoth, it is fairly straightforward logic that discovering new physics has being able to exploit that physics as a corollary.

Sadly developing the technology to exploit such result is not nearly so straightforward.

It is doubtful we will see practical application of this research in our lifetimes.

And why didn't the 10 trillion degree "perfect liquid" material melt the whole thing down?

 

I think I know this answer. It didnt melt everything because it is contained within a magnetic field, much like the prototype fusion reactor do.

I doubt that's necessary. Such results are extremely short lived.

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And why didn't the 10 trillion degree "perfect liquid" material melt the whole thing down?

 

I think I know this answer. It didnt melt everything because it is contained within a magnetic field, much like the prototype fusion reactor do.

I doubt that's necessary. Such results are extremely short lived.

Even short lived that'd be a lot of energy that'd probably burn through several feet before it cooled enough to be a puddle. I'd have to be in magnetic containment.

 

That said, I think it's quite possibly the "mini big bangs" that were generated were very similar to our big bang, in that they actually birthed a universe. It's just it got shunted off into somewhere else . *shrugs* I'll have to ask my advisor about it.

 

Oh hey! My school is doing something on it that'd go completely over my head because I'm still undergrad!

 

1. TOMORROW - HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS SEMINAR

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 4:10 PM, Room A401 Zaffarano

 

Speaker: Sudhir Gupta, ISU

 

Title: Same sign top-pairs in a non-universal Z' model at the LHC

 

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss same sign dilepton signatures in a non-universal flavor changing Z' model with large Ztu coupling at the Large Hadron Collider. These arise due to tt (or t_bar t_bar) production processes where to (anti)top decays semileptonically. We will also discuss top reconstruction and spin measurement using the variable MT2 and MT2-Assisted On-Shell (MAOS) Momentum techniques and will provide a comparison with the on-shell mass relation method. LHC sensitivities to the flavor violating Z' coupling will also be discussed in the context of the aforementioned signature.

Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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Actually its entirely dependant on the amount of matter you're dealing with. Ten trillion degree isn't all that impressive when you're dealing with a few atomic particles. The actual beams they're using are only 3.5 TeV so far. I suspect the difference in temperature would cause an almost instantaneous heat transfer, rather than it moving "several feet".

There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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Actually its entirely dependant on the amount of matter you're dealing with. Ten trillion degree isn't all that impressive when you're dealing with a few atomic particles. The actual beams they're using are only 3.5 TeV so far. I suspect the difference in temperature would cause an almost instantaneous heat transfer, rather than it moving "several feet".

Well, the heat transfer would also depend on a variety of things too, including velocity, surface area, density et al.

Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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You can work out the energy involved- since the mass of a lead ion is known as is the velocity of the collision it is easy enough* to work out the maximum theoretical energy of the collision. And yeah, it ain't very high even given the extraordinarily high velocities because the mass of a single atom is extraordinarily low. Since the whole thing is cooled by liquid helium (IIRC it was the thing which caused the large delay by leaking into the system) and the experiment is by definition performed in a vacuum that amount of heat is not going to do much of anything.

 

It also does use magnetic fields, just not for heat containment. They're used for focusing (perhaps accelerating too though I'm not sure of that, no doubt wikipedia has the answer) the beams of charged ions at each other.

 

*just remember to use the relativistic physics rather than Newtonian

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And why didn't the 10 trillion degree "perfect liquid" material melt the whole thing down?

 

I think I know this answer. It didnt melt everything because it is contained within a magnetic field, much like the prototype fusion reactor do.

 

Not to mention that, barring something like a vacuum metastability event, two objects (e.g. lead ions) only have a finite amount of energy. So it (the sub-sub-atomic particle plasma) could probably melt something, but it wouldn't be much before it rapidly cooled down to room temperature (or in the LHC's case, near absolute zero temperature).

 

I'm guessing the posts below Gfted's will elaborate in more detail.

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They're used for focusing (perhaps accelerating too though I'm not sure of that, no doubt wikipedia has the answer) the beams of charged ions at each other.

 

They're actually accelerated by electric fields. ;)

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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So how many days do you guys think we have left?

 

The universe where the LHC caused a vacuum metastability event (or similar) no longer has sentient life. By definition the fact that we are still alive is evidence that we are in the universe where the laws of physics do not allow the LHC to destroy us. And arguably we always will be.

 

It's almost like quantum immortality - some thought experiment extension of the Many Worlds interpretation of QM, from memory. Of course, humans still die of old age in any universe, quantum immortality can't stop entropy (assuming no Singularity-like event). Or can it...? Dun dun dun.

 

Not that I necessary believe this interpretation of Everett's interpretation, but it's interesting that scientific experimentation (the LHC) is starting to catch up with scientific metaphysics (musings about the universe which are interesting but largely unprovable due to the energies and/or scales required)... so maybe in my lifetime we'll have some fascinating answers. Personally I disagree with pmp10 and think he or she is far too conservative in regards to humanity's capacity for scientific advancement.

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Ten trillion degree isn't all that impressive when you're dealing with a few atomic particles.

 

This.

 

It's not the temperature that is impressive about this (although I personally find a temperature millions of times higher than that of our sun to be intriguing), it's the state of the matter within.

 

Isolating and observing quarks and gluons in reality is hard - usually the strong force prevents this. So what is this quark-gluon plasma? Nobody actually knows completely, which is why they're generating them at the LHC.

 

EDIT: And everyone keep in mind that the LHC is only running on 50% beam power this year, so there are plenty more discoveries yet to come from the LHC!

Edited by Krezack
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So how many days do you guys think we have left?

 

The LHC doesn't do anything that doesn't already occur in the upper atmosphere.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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The LHC does plenty of things which don't happen in the upper atmosphere. There's a general dearth of lead ions colliding with each other at .99C in the atmosphere, as a general rule.

 

In terms of energy involved. Cosmic particles collide with similar energies up there on a fairly regular basis.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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The LHC does plenty of things which don't happen in the upper atmosphere. There's a general dearth of lead ions colliding with each other at .99C in the atmosphere, as a general rule.

 

In terms of energy involved. Cosmic particles collide with similar energies up there on a fairly regular basis.

It might be common in the high altitudes, but keeping 10.000 tonnes of measuring equipment completely still 40-80 km up in the air is just such a hassle.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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The LHC does plenty of things which don't happen in the upper atmosphere. There's a general dearth of lead ions colliding with each other at .99C in the atmosphere, as a general rule.

 

In terms of energy involved. Cosmic particles collide with similar energies up there on a fairly regular basis.

It might be common in the high altitudes, but keeping 10.000 tonnes of measuring equipment completely still 40-80 km up in the air is just such a hassle.

 

Not only that, but then you'd just have to wait and hope that there's a collision in the space where you're measuring!

 

But that wasn't my point - I was responding to WoD's world-ending absurdity.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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But that wasn't my point - I was responding to WoD's world-ending absurdity.

Oh... :sorcerer:

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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The LHC does plenty of things which don't happen in the upper atmosphere. There's a general dearth of lead ions colliding with each other at .99C in the atmosphere, as a general rule.

 

In terms of energy involved. Cosmic particles collide with similar energies up there on a fairly regular basis.

 

It is the particles and densities involved here that make this entirely different, though.

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