Journey to the center of the universe
I had the fortune to visit CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research) earlier this month. Located on the Franco-Swiss border, CERN is home to the most powerful particle accelerator mankind has ever built, the Large Hadron Collider, otherwise known as the LHC. Here, bunches of approximately 100 billion protons each are accelerated in opposing directions around a 27-kilometer ring to collide at needle-point accuracy.
Fellow blogger, Ransom Stephens, published an excellent 8-part series last year about the LHC and the Higgs Boson discovery, which you can read here. I highly recommend it. I will relate my own first-hand experience in today’s post, and the impressive engineering required to create the experiments. Though I lived near Geneva for nearly four years, this was the first time I ever visited the facility.
Let’s start with a little physics. We all know that matter cannot travel at the speed of light, and mass increases asymptotically as an object approaches light-speed. Freshmen physics taught us that mass increases (and time slows) by the factor of gamma, calculated by the equation below.
For more detail: Journey to the center of the universe
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