Jun 8, 2005

large hadron collider

Sean Carroll has a nice post up with some pictures of the Large Hadron Collider being built at CERN. He's a professor at University of Chicago. The LHC is an accelerator that collides protons and ions head-on. The difference with LHC is that it's bigger and therefore is able to create particle energies that are much larger than other colliders - hence the Large. Colliding particles is a way to learn about their features. Carroll explains this a little. The more energy you put into a particle and more you increase the types of events that can happen and the number of collision shrapnel that gets spewed out. There is some hope that these collisions will show some evidence of superpartner particles which is a feature predicted due to supersymmetry and could lend some credence to string theory.

If you read nothing else read the last paragraph. He highlights an interesting aspect of the Standard Model (the current theory of fundamental particles that is largely driven by quantum theory). It works so well that we're in an unusual phase of physics. Instead of experiments leading the generation of new theories, the Standard Model is so good it predicts so many new particles and their attributes that it's the experiments that are trying to catching up. LHC makes a big step towards catching up. And there's some, Carroll included, that think some results might come out of this that will force scientists to play catch up.

Which reminds me I was going to do a string theory series at some point...

No comments: