LHC celebrates five years of not destroying the world

Sep 12, 2013 by Rupert Cole & Harry Cliff, The Conversation
Universe’s secrets are revealed in a dark corner in Switzerland. Credit: timtom.ch

Five years ago, at breakfast time, the world waited anxiously for news from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The first nervy bunch of protons were due to be fired around the European lab's latest and biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as it kicked into action.

Some "mercifully deluded people" – as Jeremy Paxman put it – feared the LHC would do no end of mischief. There was talk of planet-swallowing , the transformation of the Earth into a new state of "strange" matter, and even the prospect of the obliteration of the entire universe. But for those of more sensible dispositions, the LHC's first beam was an occasion for great excitement.

As the protons sped all the way round the 27km tunnel under the countryside between Lake Geneva and the Jura Mountains, thousands of physicists and engineers celebrated decades of hard work, incredible ingenuity and sheer ambition. Together they had created the largest-ever .

After the LHC was switched on, project leader Lyn Evans said, "We can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe."

Operating a massive requires much more than flicking a switch – thousands of individual elements have to all come together, synchronised in time to less than a billionth of a second.

University College London's physicist Jon Butterworth recalls a "particularly bizarre memory" from that day. Relaxing in a Westminster pub after an exhausting LHC event in London, Butterworth found he could follow live updates from his own ATLAS experiment on the pub's TV.

Particle physics continued to make news. The following fortnight's joy turned to dismay as an accident involving six tonnes of erupting violently in the tunnel – euphemistically referred to as "the incident" – damaged around half a mile of the collider, closing the LHC for a year.

Time for a rest. Credit: CERN

Since then, besides the brief setback that was "baguette-gate", a bizarre episode when the collider was sabotaged by a baguette-wielding bird, the LHC has been producing great work. Hundreds of scientific papers have been published by the CERN experiments, on topics as diverse as searches for dark matter candidates, the production of the primordial state of matter (known as quark-gluon plasma) and precision measurements of matter-antimatter asymmetries.

However, it was on July 4 last year, that the LHC snared its first major catch with the discovery of the Higgs boson – as one of the most significant scientific finds of the century. The Higgs boson was one of the longest-sought prizes in science – it was almost fifty years ago in 1964 that three groups of theorists laid the ground-work for what would become the final piece of the theory known as the Standard Model of Particle Physics. They proposed an energy field, filling the entire Universe that gives mass to fundamental particles.

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This "Higgs mechanism" neatly explained why the weak nuclear force was so weak and why light is able to travel over infinite reaches of space. It also laid the groundwork for the unification of the weak and electromagnetic forces into a single "electroweak" force, in a coup similar to James Clerk-Maxwell's unification of electricity and magnetism in the 19th century.

However, like air, the Higgs field itself is invisible; the only way to know if it is there is to create a disturbance in it, like a breeze or a sound. It was Peter Higgs who first suggested that if the field existed, it would be possible to create such a disturbance, which would show up as a new particle. Hence, the boson was named after him, much to the irritation of some of the other five theorists responsible for the theory.

The LHC's discovery of the Higgs closed a chapter in the development of fundamental physics, placing the keystone into the great arch of the Standard Model. The LHC is currently being upgraded so that in 2015 it will reopen at almost double its previous energy. What every scientist is now aching for is a sign of something new, physics beyond the Standard Model, and most probably beyond our wildest aspirations.

Explore further: The Higgs boson: One year on

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User comments : 13

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vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2013
However, like air, the Higgs field itself is invisible; the only way to know if it is there is to create a disturbance in it, like a breeze or a sound. It was Peter Higgs who first suggested that if the field existed, it would be possible to create such a disturbance, which would show up as a new particle…..

Maybe we could create such a disturbance of the field by a simple understandable method below.
The LHC's discovery of the Higgs closed a chapter in the development of fundamental physics, placing the keystone into the great arch of the Standard Model….. What every scientist is now aching for is a sign of something new, physics beyond the Standard Model, and most probably beyond our wildest aspirations.

Or maybe turning back to something like the old aether which pervades the entire universe ….
http://www.vacuum...=9〈=en
no fate
2.8 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2013
In MUT (magnetic universe theory) the Higgs field is actually the base level of magnetic flux supplied by the first (DeBroglie) electron. It appeared immediately prior to expansion, directly in the center of the dense hydrogen ions via quantum fluctuation or god put it there or whatever and then acted exactly as DeBroglie postulated a stationary electron would, expanding infinitely in all directions.

THe calm water surface became very ripply that day folks, not unlike the lone pebble piercing the surface at the water threshold. You may imagine the hydrogen ions acting similar to earth atmosphere reacting to grenade explosion, first being pushed out at incredible velocity in all directions and then gradually returning to fill the void left by the explosion once the outward dissipative force could be overcome. The positive ions began to regroup like the defeated army that had been scattered, except the flux caused the newly formed bodies to spin, which compressed and strenghtened it.
no fate
2.8 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2013
You may visualize these area's like the spinning vortex in your bathtub at the drain where the water ripples become twisted and compressed due to the rotative force of the water circling the drain. From a certain perspective this may make you dizzy like the ingestion of the absynth.
brt
2.8 / 5 (9) Sep 12, 2013
You may visualize these area's like the spinning vortex in your bathtub at the drain where the water ripples become twisted and compressed due to the rotative force of the water circling the drain. From a certain perspective this may make you dizzy like the ingestion of the absynth.


I find this to be extremely intuitive. I wish others could match your level of intuition. The physics community could really benefit by contacting you and having your intuition available to analyze their ideas and theories. intuition.
Noumenon
2.2 / 5 (17) Sep 12, 2013
You may visualize these area's like the spinning vortex in your bathtub at the drain where the water ripples become twisted and compressed due to the rotative force of the water circling the drain. From a certain perspective this may make you dizzy like the ingestion of the absynth.


I find this to be extremely intuitive. I wish others could match your level of intuition. The physics community could really benefit by contacting you and having your intuition available to analyze their ideas and theories. intuition.


But remember they won't because of the conspiracy of requiring to maintain jobs to get funding for the smarty dummy fancy mathematicians at the LHC already many years before it. If it can't be explained using sock puppets only then it is a conspiracy to exclude us morons from it, on purpose, already before so many years.
JohnGee
1.9 / 5 (9) Sep 12, 2013
Ubavontuba, prolific climate troll, honestly thought the LHC would destroy Earth, yet doesn't see the harm in climate change. Maybe he is drawn to quack ideas and should be ignored?

I just finished watching the tape of "A Brief History of Time" wherein Stephen Hawking explains Hawking radiation. My opinion is that his conclusions are illogical.
Look at the hubris.
Lastly, if this works I presume they'll want to do it again, only bigger. Then again, only bigger. Then yet again, only bigger. When does someone start to draw lines here?

Wouldn't it be best to pursue these experiments off-world sometime in the future? Someplace far away?
The LHC should have been moved off world but climate change is a total scam? He must be very selective about his "evidence"
So if math isn't always trustworthy to begin with
Seems like he's been trollolling that idea for a long time.

http://lofi.forum...870.html
no fate
3 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2013
You may visualize these area's like the spinning vortex in your bathtub at the drain where the water ripples become twisted and compressed due to the rotative force of the water circling the drain. From a certain perspective this may make you dizzy like the ingestion of the absynth.


I find this to be extremely intuitive. I wish others could match your level of intuition. The physics community could really benefit by contacting you and having your intuition available to analyze their ideas and theories. intuition.


Thankyou. The intuition can be viewed as the cold fusion by-product of the Bose-Einstein condensate on the windshield, the droplets of water not unlike the.....ok I cant keep going...but it was fun.

Apologies to the moderators for the spam posts.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 12, 2013
So we could say, we survived just because the string theorists failed their predictions. If they would be right, we all could be doomed already
Hold on - YOU predicted the formation of black holes using your theory. You didnt invoke THEIR theory, which you dont believe, to make your prediction. So lets not blame string theorists for your failed prediction okay?
fmfbrestel
4 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
I read this headline and I thought "oh god, that's going to be full of trolls". Then I checked, and yup, nothing but crazies everywhere you look. This article should be reported for troll baiting.
Gmr
3 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
It is pretty easy to bait, and to some extent predict given the ecosystem and relative post frequency which bulls, pack hunters and scavengers will frequent an article. Now if we ever have a "Plasma-induced weather change affects climate with subsequent changes in evolution rates and predicts vaccination effectivity when derived from relativistic interpretation of quantum uncertainty under gun control from liberal policies" the ecosystem might potentially collapse.
technodiss
5 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2013
It is pretty easy to bait, and to some extent predict given the ecosystem and relative post frequency which bulls, pack hunters and scavengers will frequent an article. Now if we ever have a "Plasma-induced weather change affects climate with subsequent changes in evolution rates and predicts vaccination effectivity when derived from relativistic interpretation of quantum uncertainty under gun control from liberal policies" the ecosystem might potentially collapse.

you left out ufos, chem-trails, and socialized medicine.
but we still have "aether theory", "neutron repulsion", and "I'm smarter than Hawking" on the board today.
i remember watching the first test run live on the web. it lasted all of a second. its nice that the pseudoscience around the LHC has calmed down.
in a decade there will be a larger, more powerful particle accelerator for people to make up silly "the end is nigh" theories about.
Humpty
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2013
Not forgetting the time it set fire to the atmosphere.....

Except for the good fortune of a heavy passing down pour when it started, we would have all been burned alive.
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2013
exactly how long would a microscopic black hole last given Hawking's predictions? a picosecond? faster?
how was that supposed to stabilize, according to the theorists? wouldn't there be an issue of getting material over the event horizon fast enough?

i thought that, being as small as it was supposed to be, that it would evaporate far too quickly even if it was created. especially given the size and energy of the LHC is still less than some of the constant bombardment in our own upper atmosphere. and given that the upper atmosphere has sustained, over time, such a high amount of collisions of higher energy than the LHC, the probability of it happening should have occurred over the time span of the earths life with atmosphere, right?

just curious...

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