World's biggest scientific experiment pops up in print

November 10th, 2009
Emma Sanders with the pop-up book. Credit: The ATLAS experiment at CERN
As the LHC - the world’s largest and most complex scientific experiment - restarts this month, the science and vast machinery of this massive international project at CERN are brought to life in the pages of a new pop-up book - Voyage to the Heart of Matter. The book is published today (9th November).

Once first physics gets underway early next year, protons travelling at nearly the speed of light will collide 40 million times a second within the heart of the LHC’s particle detectors, sending out showers of debris, to recreate the conditions that existed millionths of a second after the Big Bang - the event that set our Universe in motion. Now readers of all ages can join the ATLAS Experiment on this fascinating journey to the beginnings of the Universe.

In this unique collaboration between ATLAS and renowned paper engineer Anton Radevsky, 7000 tonnes of metal, glass, plastic, cables and computer chips leap from the page in miniature pop-up, to tell the story of CERN’s quest to understand the birth of the universe. Emma Sanders, a UK scientist now at CERN and co-author of the book, said, “We’re all very excited about the LHC restart and the first high energy collisions and we'd like to communicate some of that excitement to those who aren’t here to experience it first hand. We hope this amazing experiment will start a new age in our understanding of the Universe.”

When the LHC starts its particle collisions early next year, scientists from all over the world, including many UK scientists, will be studying the huge amounts of data collected. The UK plays a leading role in the experiment with the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) supporting the UK researchers and groups involved in the project and paying the UK subscription to CERN and the LHC.

The LHC has also been advantageous for UK industry with £270 million worth of contracts from CERN. CERN pushes technologies in engineering, science and computing to their limits, often leading to new developments. The need for easy communication among the worldwide community involved in the previous major experiment at CERN, called LEP, stimulated the creation of the World Wide Web.

The preparation for the LHC also led to a number of spin-off technologies in health care, but its greatest potential technology benefit is the Grid - a whole new way of computing invented as a successor to the Web.

More information:

The book is:

280 x 220mm (portrait) in full colour
Hardback (8 pages) 
ISBN 9781906506063
Papadakis Publisher, London
Costs £20.00
The book is available for purchase from end November.

Provided by Science and Technology Facilities Council

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