The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator: a marvel of modern particle physics that has allowed researchers to plumb the depths of reality. In 2012, the massive nuclear smasher, a 16.5-mile (27-kilometer) underground ring on the border of France and Switzerland, enabled researchers to do so find evidence of it the famous Higgs boson and has since led to many other discoveries.
How long did it take to build the Large Hadron Collider?
The origins of the LHC date back to 1977, when Sir John Adams, former director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), proposed building an underground tunnel that could house a particle accelerator capable of reaching extraordinarily high energies. corresponding History Book 2015 by the physicist Thomas Schörner-Sadenius.
The project was officially approved 20 years later, in 1997, and construction began on the ring, which runs under the Franco-Swiss border and is capable of accelerating particles up to 99.99% of the speed of light and smashing them together . Inside the ring, 9,300 magnets guide bundles of charged particles in two opposite directions at speeds of 11,245 times per second, eventually bringing them together for a head-on collision. according to CERN. The facility is capable of generating around 600 million collisions every second, spewing out incredible amounts of energy and the occasional exotic and never-before-seen heavy particle. The LHC operates at energies 6.5 times higher than the previous record particle accelerator, Fermilab’s decommissioned Tevatron in the United States
The LHC cost a total of $8 billion to build, including $531 million from the United States. More than 8,000 scientists from 60 different countries work together on his experiments. The accelerator turned on its beams for the first time on September 10, 2008 and collided with particles only a ten millionth its original design intensity. It was shut down in 2018 for upgrades and switched back on April 22, 2022, with higher performance and twice the collision rate. The aim is to increase the energy of the collisions to a record-breaking 13.6 TeV.
Could the Large Hadron Collider destroy the world?
Before it began operations, there were fears that the new atom smasher would destroy Earth, perhaps by creating an all-consuming black hole. But any serious physicist would say such concerns are unfounded.
“The LHC is safe and any suggestion that it might pose a risk is pure fiction,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar previously said Live Science.
That’s not to say the setup couldn’t be potentially harmful if used improperly. If you put your hand in the beam that focuses the energy of a moving aircraft carrier to a width of less than a millimeter, it would make a hole right through them and then the radiation in the tunnel would kill you.
What did the LHC find?
Over the past 10 years, the LHC has been banging atoms together for its two main experiments, ATLAS and CMS, which operate and analyze their data separately. This is to ensure that no collaboration affects the other and that each reviews its sister experiments. The instruments have generated more than 2,000 scientific papers in many areas of fundamental particle physics.
On July 4, 2012, the scientific world watched with bated breath as researchers at the LHC announced this the discovery of the Higgs boson, the final piece of a five-decade-old theory called the Standard Model of Physics. The Standard Model attempts to account for all known particles and forces (except gravity) and their interactions. As early as 1964, the British physicist Peter Higgs wrote a paper about the particle that bears his name today and explained how mass is created in the universe.
The Higgs is actually a field that pervades all space and pulls with it every particle that moves through it. Some particles trudge through the field more slowly, which corresponds to their greater mass. The Higgs boson is a manifestation of this field, which physicists have been chasing for half a century. The LHC was expressly built to finally capture this elusive quarry. When they finally determined that the Higgs had 125 times the mass of a proton, both Peter Higgs and Belgian theoretical physicist Francois Englert received the award Nobel Price for physics in 2013 for predicting its existence.
Even with the Higgs in hand, physicists cannot rest, because the standard model still has a few holes. For one thing, it doesn’t deal with gravity, which is mostly covered by Einstein’s theories of relativity. It also doesn’t explain why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter, which should have formed in roughly equal amounts at the beginning of time. And it’s completely silent about dark matter and dark energy, which had yet to be discovered when it formed.
Before the LHC was turned on, many researchers would have said that the next big theory is a known one supersymmetry, which adds twin partners similar to all known particles, but much more massive. One or more of these heavy partners could have been a perfect candidate for particle formation Dark matter. And supersymmetry is starting to get a grip on gravity, which explains why it’s so much weaker than the other three fundamental forces. Before discovering Higgs, some scientists hoped that the boson would end up being slightly different than what the Standard Model had predicted, suggesting new physics.
But when the Higgs showed up, it was incredibly normal, right in the mass range where the Standard Model said it was. While this is a major achievement for the Standard Model, it has left physicists without good leads to proceed. Some have started talking the lost decades in which we chased theories that sounded good on paper but didn’t seem to match actual observations. Many are hoping that the next few data collection runs at the LHC will help clear up some of this mess.
What is the LHC doing now?
The LHC was shut down for two years in December 2018 upgrades and repairs. The plan to restart the facility was delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, corresponding CERN. Finally, on April 22, 2022, the LHC began preparations to explore the cutting edge of particle physics again. Detonated after its three-year nap, the giant collider ring is now more powerful than ever. Live Science reports. The accelerator will be able to smash atoms together with a slight increase in energy, but with twice the number of collisions per second.
Data from previous LHC runs were used for detection spooky neutrinos inside the machine for the very first time, mysterious primeval’X’ particles from the beginning of timeand a strange pattern that cannot be explained through our current understanding of the universe.
In the new run, called Run 3, two new experiments will go online: FASER and SND@LHC. With these experiments at the LHC, physicists will search for physics “beyond the Standard Model”. In addition, special proton-helium collisions will show how often anti-protons are produced to explain why matter has conquered the universe; Collisions with oxygen ions should shed light on cosmic rays and a state of matter called quark-gluon plasma, which is thought to have existed immediately after Big Bang.
And of course there is already talking an even more powerful replacement particle accelerator, located on the same site but four times the size of the LHC. The enormous replacement could take 20 years and $27 billion to build
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on April 25, 2022.
What is the Large Hadron Collider? Source link What is the Large Hadron Collider?