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Monday, September 08, 2008

Angels, demons, and particle accelerators

- a worker inside the LHC tunnel

I saw a story in the news tonight - All eyes on collider as it comes to life - about the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator complex, built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and positioned under the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. Here's a bit from Wikipedia ....

When activated, it is theorized that the collider will produce the elusive Higgs boson [the God particle], the observation of which could confirm the predictions and missing links in the Standard Model of physics and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass. The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would be a significant step in the search for a Grand Unified Theory, which seeks to unify three of the four known fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, leaving out only gravity. The Higgs boson may also help to explain why gravitation is so weak compared to the other three forces. In addition to the Higgs boson, other theorized particles, models and states might be produced, and for some searches are planned, including supersymmetric particles, compositeness (technicolor), extra dimensions, strangelets, micro black holes and magnetic monopoles.

Supercolliders show up often in fiction. One book that features the Large Hadron Collider is by Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame .... Angels & Demons. In the book (the movie version will be filmed at the real LHC site), the evil Illuminati gain some antimatter created at the LHC and use it to try to destroy the Vatican :)

You can go to CERN's page about the Angels & Demons book/movie, where they answer questions and provide info about the LHC, antimatter, and something else that science-dope Crystal didn't know about .....

[...] the Web was invented and developed entirely by Tim Berners-Lee and a small team at CERN during 1989-1994. The story of the Internet and the Web can be read in ‘How the Web was born’.

You can visit the LHC home here.
You can read more about the God particle at National Geographic here.
You can read more about the Angels& Demons movie and a few words from a Church spokesman here.


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