Saturday, May 9, 2009

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - Was It A Waste Of Money?

If you ever wondered what the so-called Super Collider was all about, this video provides all the information in a graphical presentation. It's really amazing what it's trying to do. Will it ever provide us with something useful? Who knows, but if it had never been built, we'd never know.

The dimensions are incredible. The collider is contained in a circular tunnel, with a circumference of 17 mi, at a depth ranging as much as 570 ft beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland

Large Hadron Collider
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams, of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus.

The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson[1] and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry.[2] It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as much as 175 metres (570 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.[3]

On 10 September 2008, the proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring of the LHC for the first time.[4] On 19 September 2008, the operations were halted due to a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets.[5] Due to the time required to repair the resulting damage and to add additional safety features, the LHC is scheduled to be operational again no sooner than September 2009.[6]


It is anticipated that the collider will demonstrate the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, the last unobserved particle among those predicted by the Standard Model.[7][8] Experimentally verifying the existence of the Higgs boson would shed light on the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking, through which the particles of the Standard Model are thought to acquire their mass. In addition to the Higgs boson, new particles predicted by possible extensions of the Standard Model might be produced at the LHC. More generally, physicists hope that the LHC will enhance their ability to answer key questions such as:[9]
    • Is the Higgs mechanism for generating elementary particle masses in the Standard Model indeed realised in nature?[10] If so, how many Higgs bosons are there, and what are their masses?

    • Are electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force just different manifestations of a single unified force, as predicted by various Grand Unification Theories?

    • Why is gravity so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces? See also Hierarchy problem.

    • Is Supersymmetry realised in nature, implying that the known Standard Model particles have supersymmetric partners?

    • Are there additional sources of quark flavour violation beyond those already predicted within the Standard Model?

    • Why are there apparent violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter? See also CP-violation.

    • What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?

    • Are there extra dimensions,[11] as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we detect them?
    • Is there beer in heaven?
Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that "whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."[12][13]


  1. There is or was if it already has happened a legitimate possibility that the first collision at that speed could start a nuclear fission reaction that would be self propagating until the entire collection of matter on earth were involved and we turned into a sun. Here's to hoping they already did the first run!

  2. To Carson: That's a great point. They are dealing with the unknown. It could end up being the biggest "Oops" of all time.