WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL ACCELERATOR
COULD DESTROY THE EARTH
A tunnel under the French Swiss border is looking to find invisible dark matter. It is an atom smashing experiment that could make a microscopic black hole that could doom the Earth.
This 10 billion dollar physic experiment, called CERN, is trying to re-enact the big bang. Researchers from 80 countries are attracted to this project. The U.S. has 1200 researchers involved, and has kicked in $531 million.
This atom smasher called the Large Hadron Collider, will produce protons to travel at the speed of light in its tunnel, showering off particles that will give us clues on how everything is made in the universe.
The collider will push two proton beams around the 17-mile tunnel at 11,000 times a second. The beams travel in two tubes the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum, colder and emptier than outer space. Super cooled magnets will guide these beams. The beams will cross and a few protons will collide.
The detectors are huge digital cameras, weighing thousand of pounds having 150 million pixels, and will take 600 million snapshots a second. After the cameral filter discard uninteresting data, it will still fill 2 million DVDs.
The amount of data is so huge that dozens of leading computing center worldwide will monitor the experiment at above ground control centers. Over 60,000 computers, called the LHC Grid, will analyze what happens when these protons hit each other. The scientists will have to find out what they are looking for, since their will b a huge amount of data.
The fear is that these collisions could produce tiny black holes, with the gravity as strong as collapsed stars and could suck in other stars and even planets. Lawsuits are filed in the European courts to stop the project, claiming it could create a black hole that will destroy the planet.
We don’t have to worry say the scientists, because if a beam at full power went out of control it would only damage the collider and burrow into the rock around the tunnel. They are starting with low energy experiments till they know the machine better.
A missing piece in the puzzle is a hypothetical subatomic particle, called a boson, that is believe to give particles mass. It would explain how everything in the universe gets weight. A British physicist, Higgs, postulated that invisible bosons create a field that quarks and electrons pass.
A boson is a particle that has zero intergral spin. It obeys statistical rules that place no restriction on the number of identical particles that could be in the same state. When the particles pass slowly they pick up inertia and more mass.
The ones that pass through easily remain light. Whoever finds this “Higgs boson, will be a likely Nobel winner.
The stakes are high, so are the results. Will we create a new big bang?