March goes out with a big bang

I should be ashamed (but I’m not) to say that the only way I know anything about a particle accelerator is because I’d seen an early episode of Law & Order titled Big Bang. That episode brought a whole slew of new words and phrases to my attention such as particle accelerator and protons colliding.

For anyone not as entranced by particle accelerators and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as I am, here’s a very brief summary. The LHC lies in a tunnel 17 miles (27 km) in circumference, nearly  574 feet (175 m) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

“It’s a great day to be a particle physicist,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. Why, you may ask?

Yesterday the LHC, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, successfully collided opposing particle beams of protons. Why, you may ask again? Physicists hope that the experiments will help answer many of physics most fundamental questions concerning the basic laws governing the interactions and forces among the elementary objects, and the structure of space and time.

But don’t get me started on the space-time continuum, because then we’d be in Star Trek territory.

Watch a discussion on Charlie Rose about the LHC and theoretical/experimental physics.

particle accelerator, protons colliding, CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), particle physics, big bang

One Response to “March goes out with a big bang”

  1. lg Says:

    As a (selective) sci-fi fan and the only person I know who took an Astronomy course in college, I have to say kinda cool and definitely interesting. I don’t know any particle physicists (although I do personally know a real rocket scientist. . . . ), but it is a big deal from the science and medical breakthrough arenas.

    Good for them!

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