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The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider

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The Large Hadron Collider

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  1. The Large Hadron Collider

  2. The coldest and emptiest place in the solar system • The highest energies ever created • Cameras the size of cathedrals • A machine 27km long LHC Overview [CERN]

  3. The biggest machine in the world to study the smallest particles in the universe • Based in a 27km circular ring 100m underground • Protons and neutrons are examples of hadrons, which are made of quarks: fundamental particles that aren’t made of anything smaller

  4. How can you study particles that are too small to see with light?

  5. This microscope can’t resolve anything smaller than 1 micrometer across (0.000001m) The XY table and microscope [CERN]

  6. Shorter wavelength reveals details down to the size of molecules… • It’s as small as we can look by shining a beam of electromagnetic radiation • You just can’t “see” what’s inside atoms - it needs a different approach

  7. Particle accelerators can give us clues about what is inside atoms themselves • The LHC accelerates particles to nearly the speed of light, and collides them with incredible energy inside huge detectors • Studying the results lets us test our ideas about the very smallest units of matter and energy, far smaller than the atom LHC Tube in Tunnel [CERN]

  8. Our picture of these basic units and the interactions between them is called the standard model • It explains a lot, but there are holes in it • It doesn’t include gravity, or explain what gives particles mass, for example • Scientists expect the missing pieces of the jigsaw to appear when they create very high energies in the LHC The Standard Model [CERN]

  9. Einstein showed that matter and energy are interchangeable: matter is like “concentrated energy” • On a tiny scale, the LHC recreates the incredibly hot, dense conditions close to when the universe began • Hadrons smash together with so much energy that some energy turns into mass, briefly creating particles that haven’t existed since the Big Bang

  10. The LHC lets us glimpse the conditions 1/100th of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang: the hot beginning of the universe before it cooled enough for normal matter to exist • It might reveal what the mysterious dark matter and dark energy, that make up 96% of the universe today, actually are • And explain the mystery of what happened to all the antimatter that was made when the universe began but has since vanished… • Or raise completely new questions Big Bang [CERN]

  11. 4 gigantic detectors use sensors to measure the direction, charge, mass and energy of the particles as they zip through • Scientists then piece together what happened in each collision CMS endcap being lowered into position [CERN]

  12. 1232 superconducting magnets at -271.3C (1.9K), colder than outer space • Ultrahigh vacuum, the emptiest place in the solar system Dipole magnet schematic [CERN]

  13. Proton bunches circle the 27km ring 11,000 times a second • At 99.9999991% the speed of light! Simulated collision of two protons in ATLAS [CERN]

  14. A new view of the building blocks of the universe and the laws that make the universe the way it is Simulated lead-leadcollision in ALICE [CERN]

  15. Log on to LHC UK website to find out more