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A Look at the Emerging Technology of the Large Hadron Collider (lhc)

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Introduction

The search for information can lead to astounding discoveries, change social, political, psychological, and ethical policies, and bring the world to its knees. The search for knowledge is, and has been, a part of the human race for as long as we know. In this research topic, we look at one emerging technology that has the power to find how the universe was made, and the power to destroy it. The emerging technology of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) looks to give us a glimpse of how small atoms can create such huge impacts on us in today's modern society.

Brief History

Have you ever wondered how the universe was created and with what? Well, a group of scientists in Switzerland are trying to answer that very question with the help of a new emerging technology. They hope to answer that question and many others with the use of a machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The LHC is a gigantic scientific instrument located outside Geneva, Switzerland, hugging the edges of both France and Switzerland. ). It was built by Geneva's CERN Laboratories (European Organization for Nuclear Research, LHC) and was officially activated in 1998. It took an astonishing 14 years to build, costing over 18 billion dollars. The cost was shared by 20 member countries, to include the United States. The LHC resides in a massive dual circular tunnel measuring 27km in Circumference or 16.7770 mi, buried underground ranging from 50m to 175m. It is estimated to weigh 41887.829 tons, equating to about ½ the weight of a military aircraft carrier.

Pure Science

How does it work?

The Large Hadron Collider essentially is a giant particle collider pushing particles to the brink of the speed of light. I'll attempt to explain its extremely complex process into an easy to understand simple process. It starts with a small Hydrogen tank feeding hydrogen atoms into the particle accelerator. These atoms are stripped of electrons and only protons remain moving at 1/3 the speed of light. These protons are then fed thru a series of coils to increase their speed with the use of electronic pulses and magnets until they reach 91.6% the speed of light. It then moves to a Proton Synchrotron (a circular tube) which then, by use of electronic pulses, it reaches a constant speed, at 99.9% speed of light, and energy measuring 25 gigaelectron volts (GeV). The proton is then sent to a 7KM Super Proton Synchrotron where the energy is increased to 450 GeV.

Lastly the protons are launched into the orbit inside the LHC's rings (Fig. 1.1) measuring 27km. They are split equally and synchronized into two separated rings and their energy is gradually raised to 7 teraelectron volts (TeV). One ring has protons moving clockwise while the other has them moving counter-clockwise at orbits near the speed of light (180000 mi/second). The protons moving in opposite directions cross over in four detector cavern points, smashing into each other, creating millions of collisions. The energy produced, reaches 14 TeV and to similar states of moments after the big bang. This is where CERN scientists are focusing their attention. They analyze data of these collisional tracks with detectors monitored by computers located at the collision point. The computed data helps aide scientists in finding the answers to some of the simplest of questions that will be discussed in the following section.

Why was it built?

The LHC was built to help scientists answer several unsolved questions in particle physics. Physicists within the last half century have put together a picture of what types of particles make up the universe and how they interact with each other. While they have most of the picture, they are still missing pieces of the picture. To gain these pieces, particle physics experiments are being conducted with the LHC. The CERN scientists are looking to obtain the scientific Data they need from six main experiments through the use of detectors. These particle physics experiments (Fig. 1.1) are called, ATLAS, CMS, TOTEM, LHCf, LHCb, and ALICE. I will briefly discuss each experiment.

Figure 1.1

ATLAS and CMS (AToroidal LHC ApparatuS and Compact Muon Solenoid respectively)

In the ATLAS and CMS experiments (Fig. 1.1), CERN scientists are looking to answer questions left open from work stemming from famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Many know him to be the founder of gravity and celestial mechanics. They are trying to determine the answer to several simple but complex questions regarding mass. Where does it come from? Why do particles weigh what they weigh? What particles constitute mass? Why don't some particles have mass? At this point, experimental data is being conducted and formulated, but many theorists believe that an explanation can be found in what an undiscovered and unobserved particle they call the Higgs boson. ATLAS and CMS experiments are "searching for signs of this elusive particle."

Also, in the ATLAS and CMS experiments, CERN scientists are looking for "supersymmetric particles" to determine if this is what makes up the dark matter in the universe. Dark Matter is theorized by scientists to make up 96% of the universe, while planets, stars, and other matter are only estimated to make up the other 4%.

Lastly, scientists are using ATLAS and CMS experiments to determine if there are extra dimensions of the universe. CERN scientists are looking at levels 10 billion times smaller than an atom, hoping to learn if there are indeed extra dimensions to universe. If so, what are they? What type of shapes or sizes do they have? If they are hidden, or how they are hidden? What if any, are the new particles of extra dimensions? And are there microscopic black holes?

TOTEM (TOTal Elastic and diffractive cross section Measurement)

The TOTEM experiment studies protons to a level that can't be accessed by general purpose equipment and experiments. During the experiment, 8 vacuum sealed silicon detectors are placed in pairs at 4 locations neighboring the collision point of the CMS experiment. According to the CERN website, these detectors are designed to measure a proton's effective size through its cross-sections. Also, it will precisely monitor the LHC's luminosity, since the collisions are not viewable by the human eye. The TOTEM experiment essentially supplements results gained by the CMS.

LHCf (Large Hadron Collider forward)

The LHCf experiment is set up to help CERN scientists solve gaps in their knowledge of cosmic rays. Scientists

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