Thursday, November 19, 2009


I had to write this paper for my science class, and I know that Jason wanted to read it, so I just decided to post it for anyone who is interested.

The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider, also known as the LHC, built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (also known as CERN), is a 27 kilometer ring that runs 175 meters underneath the French and Switzerland border. It is the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator, and was built for the purpose of finding out what happened right before and right after the Big Bang. Using Physics, the end goal is to figure out what caused the Big Bang and what the universe was like before, during, and after it; and trying to find out if the Higgs boson is real, or if it is simply a myth. In addition to these, the LHC will also attempt to discover other “new physics,” and try to find missing forms of matter that were supposedly created during the Big Bang.

Scientists, trying to discover how the world was created, are attempting to recreate the Big Bang and figure out the missing parts of the Standard Model, which is how they prove the Big Bang. They are also making attempts to find the Higgs Boson, a hypothesized particle that is necessary for the Standard Model to work, but has as of yet to be found anywhere, or seen acting in the universe, or some other particle that will fill in the gaps and make the Standard Model correct. Some of the key questions that physicists are hoping to answer through the LHC are, “Is the Higgs Mechanism for generating elementary particle masses in the Standard Model indeed realized in nature?” “Are electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weaker nuclear force just different manifestations of a single unified force, as predicted by various Grand Unification Theories?” “What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?” “Are there extra dimensions, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we detect them?” “Are there additional sources of quark flaw or violation beyond those already predicted within the Standard Model?”[1] Professor Stephen Hawkings (University of Cambridge) said, “Whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe.”[2]

Operation began on September 10, 2008 when the first proton beams went completely around the main ring of the Large Hadron Collider. However, only a few days later on September 19, 2008 when two of the superconducting magnets faulted resulting in millions of dollars in damages, and halted the LHC for over a year. In all, 53 magnets were damaged during the incident. The plan was to once again begin operation sometime mid-November 2009, but that has been pushed out to sometime in December 2009, with the hopes that the LHC will be up and running by Christmas 2009.

Many scientists and other people are concerned that the Large Hadron Collider will be the end of the world. There are many “doomsday” theories predicting black holes on the earth. A black hole is a spot that has such a large pull of gravity that everything falls in, but nothing can come out. Another fear is of strangelets, which have been hypothesized to be made from quark. Quark is also a hypothesized elementary particle which is vital to the Standard Model. In 2003 and again in 2008 the European Organization for Nuclear Research mandated a study safety analysis to be done, and both of them reported that the Large Hadron Collider was safe, and would not cause any permanent negative damage to the earth. These reports were backed by the Executive Committee of the Division of Particles and Fields of American Physical Society, as well as a peer-review by the Journal of Physics G.[3] There have been several major news media outlets including The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, Time, CNN, and MSNBC that have protested in some way the possible threat to the earth caused by the Large Hadron Collider. In September 2008 Romania’s Conservative Party protested the Large Hadron Collider before the European Commission mission to Bucharest.

Hawking radiation could help to relieve some of the fears of black holes. It is a thermal radiation predicted to be emitted by black holes due to quantum effect.[4] The type of black holes that the Large Hadron Collider could produce is a type that loses matter faster than they gain it because of the Hawking effect. If the LHC can produce black holes, they would disappear almost as fast as they were created, removing almost all of the problems that they could create on the earth.

The design of the Large Hadron Collider is very complicated. The LHC has 1,232 dipole magnets which are used to keep the protons going around in a circle. It also had 392 quadruple magnets which keep the beams focused. Another 1,600 superconducting magnets are used to keep the temperature at -271°C, colder than outer space! The total weight of the magnets is over 27 metric tons (approximately 59,525 pounds)!

The proton beams are put into two bunches and rotated around the circle at set intervals so that the interaction between the proton bunches happens at set times that are no more than 25 nanoseconds apart. [5] The proton beams are accelerated during their rotation through the LHC to as high as 14 TeV, that is approximately 99.9999991% of the speed of light and takes less than 90 nanoseconds for a proton beam to travel once around the main ring. This equals about 11,000 times around the ring per second![6] The data that the Large Hadron Collider produces is astounding! Every year the LHC puts out 15 petabytes of information. To put that in perspective, if someone were to take all the words that are spoken each year by everyone in the world it would only equal approximately 2 to 3 petabytes! According to The Thai Indian article “The Large Hadron Collider” the LHC will at the most reach half of its potential by 2011,[7] which means that the LHC has the ability to produce even more information than it already has produced.

There are four main experiments that are planned for the Large Hadron Collider. The first one is ATLANTIS which is attempting to figure out from where everything came, and more specifically, where mass comes from. ATLANTIS is also trying to find “new physics” to help find the origin of the universe. CMS, the second experiment, is looking for the Higgs boson, and is also trying to figure out what dark matter is, and what it does. ALICE is attempting to find the liquid form of matter, also called quark, or gluon plasma, that supposedly existed right after the Big Bang, but disappeared at some unknown point in time and has never been seen by scientists. The final experiment called LHCb simply is trying to find where the anti-matter disappeared, and why it disappeared. ATLAS and CMS will look for super symmetric particles to test likely hypothesis for the makeup of dark matter.[8]

The world is desperately trying to come up with answers for how the universe began. They don’t want to have to admit that there is a God that they will have to answer to, so instead they turn to science and spend millions of dollars just so that they don’t have to be accountable for their sin. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” – Ephesians 4:18. As Christians we know that God created the world. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” –Genesis 1:1 “To whom them will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” - Isaiah 40:25-26. The world needs to see that without God they will not be able to find any permanent answers. As Christians it is our responsibility to tell them of Christ and his salvation. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he [Jesus] unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:36-38











Jason A. Hunsicker said...

Wow, I must admit there were certain parts of this that were really confusing, but can tell you worked really hard, and it's a very good paper!

It's so ridiculous how we spend so much money, and so much time trying to produce the perfect situation to explain how the "big bang" took place, and yet we say that it was a random I the only one seeing the Irony in that?

Anyways, great paper Hannah, and awesome conclusion at the end, I couldn't agree more!

Mom said...

Thanks for the enlightening! I never new the real term for the machine - I always knew it as "the Big Bang Machine!" And in fact, just before I got on here and read your paper, I just read on Fox news that the machine was heavily damaged and is now working again (,2933,576068,00.html?test=latestnews) - just thought you'd really want to know that information! :)

Hope you get a good grade - you did a great job!

Love you!