Well, it seems that the largest and most complicated experiment in the history of humankind is…. working so far. They circulated the first beams at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) earlier today! Even Google is excited. Check out their front page:
Fun live blogging reports from the scene of events over at Resonaances, US/LHC Blogs (several posts), and Superweak, for example. I got the ATLAS readout/image below from the latter. (Presumably this is the shower of particles produced when they did the “dumping” described in Resonaances? Or just stuff produced by the edges of the beam as it passes through?) Press release from CERN here.
Update: NPR’s Morning Edition had a nice report this morning in the form of a chat between Rene Montagne and reporter David Kestenbaum. Fun to hear the audio clip of the control room. Link here.
Oh, right. The silliness. Click on that useful site I mentioned earlier to see if the earth has been destroyed as a result. (Shhhhhh!! Actually don’t tell the scare-mongers, but since for this test run there was only one beam at a time and hence no collisions, the end of the world parties and so forth were a bit premature. The only black holes that were created today in collisions at LHC energies – if it can happen at all – were the ones that would have been happening all the time all over the earth due to high energy particles from space entering our atmosphere. So nothing new to report there.)
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):
- LHC Song Growing in Listenership
- Beaming With Anticipation
- Inside CDF!
- Pauli's Other Principle
- Inside the LHC!
- Phil at LHC
- So What Are the Odds?
- Frank Common Sense
- Happy Higgs Hunters
- LHC Podcasts: Science Meets Science Fiction
- LHC Coverage
- Small Things Considered
- NPR goes to LHC
- Will People Please Stop Saying God Particle?
- A Promising Sign?