The search for information can lead to astounding discoveries, change social, political, psychological, and ethical policies, and bring the world to its knees. The search for knowledge is, and has been, a part of the human race for as long as we know. In this research topic, we look at one emerging technology that has the power to find how the universe was made, and the power to destroy it. The emerging technology of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) looks to give us a glimpse of how small atoms can create such huge impacts on us in today's modern society.
Have you ever wondered how the universe was created and with what? Well, a group of scientists in Switzerland are trying to answer that very question with the help of a new emerging technology. They hope to answer that question and many others with the use of a machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The LHC is a gigantic scientific instrument located outside Geneva, Switzerland, hugging the edges of both France and Switzerland. ). It was built by Geneva's CERN Laboratories (European Organization for Nuclear Research, LHC) and was officially activated in 1998. It took an astonishing 14 years to build, costing over 18 billion dollars. The cost was shared by 20 member countries, to include the United States. The LHC resides in a massive dual circular tunnel measuring 27km in Circumference or 16.7770 mi, buried underground ranging from 50m to 175m. It is estimated to weigh 41887.829 tons, equating to about ½ the weight of a military aircraft carrier.
How does it work?
The Large Hadron Collider essentially is a giant particle collider pushing particles to the brink of the speed of light. I'll attempt to explain its extremely complex process into an easy to understand simple process. It starts with a small Hydrogen tank feeding hydrogen atoms into the particle accelerator. These atoms are stripped of electrons and only protons remain moving at 1/3 the speed of light. These protons are then fed thru a series of coils to increase their speed with the use of electronic pulses and magnets until they reach 91.6% the speed of light. It then moves to a Proton Synchrotron (a circular tube) which then, by use of electronic pulses, it reaches a constant speed, at 99.9% speed of light, and energy measuring 25 gigaelectron volts (GeV). The proton is then sent to a 7KM Super Proton Synchrotron where the energy is increased to 450 GeV.
Lastly the protons are launched into the orbit inside the LHC's rings (Fig. 1.1) measuring 27km. They are split equally and synchronized into two separated rings and their energy is gradually raised to 7 teraelectron volts (TeV). One ring has protons moving clockwise while the other has them moving counter-clockwise at orbits near the speed of light (180000 mi/second). The protons moving in opposite directions cross over in four detector cavern points, smashing into each other, creating millions of collisions. The energy produced, reaches 14 TeV and to similar states of moments after the big bang. This is where CERN scientists are focusing their attention. They analyze data of these collisional tracks with detectors monitored by computers located at the collision point. The computed data helps aide scientists in finding the answers to some of the simplest of questions that will be discussed in the following section.