CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) set a new record by smashing atoms with vastly more energy than ever before.
The LHC is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, and the largest single machine in the world.
During its latest trials on Wednesday night, two opposing beams of protons were steered into each other at the four collision points spaced around the LHC’s tunnel.
The energy of the collisions was 13 trillion electronvolts – dwarfing the 8 trillion reached during the LHC’s first run, which ended in early 2013.
For now, however, the collisions are part of the gradual testing process designed to ensure nothing is missed an nothing goes awry when the LHC goes into that full “collision factory” mode.
“We begin by bringing the beams into collision at 13 TeV (teraelectronvolts), and adjusting their orbits to collide them head-on,” said Ronaldus Suykerbuyk from the operations team at CERN – the organization based near Geneva in Switzerland that runs the LHC.
The huge collider has been through a planned two-year refit, after the conclusion of its first run – which in 2012 produced the first solid evidence for the famous Higgs boson.
Physicists are excited to see the machine winding back up again, although it is an overwhelmingly incremental process.
In early April, after a slight delay, twin proton beams circulated the LHC’s 27km ring, 30 storeys below the Swiss-French border, for the first time in two years. This was at a much lower, preliminary energy; five days later the energy reached 6.5 TeV per beam for the first time.
The first collisions followed in early May – again, at a lower, safer energy to begin with. Thursday’s collisions are in new territory.
Les Horribles Cernettes, an all-female doo-wop band whose image is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web, is to play its final gig.
Les Horribles Cernettes take their swansong at the Hardronic Festival at the CERN laboratory in Geneva – the birthplace of the web.
A picture of the women was uploaded to the web on 18 July, 1992, by web creator – and fan – Tim Berners-Lee.
He wanted it to test out the version of the web he was working on at CERN.
The band was founded in 1990 by Michele de Gennaro who worked at CERN as a graphic designer.
The Cernettes get their name from the initials of the giant particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, used at CERN to investigate fundamental physics.
The image of Les Horribles Cernettes is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web
The group has won fame in scientific circles by performing at CERN social gatherings and physics conferences. The women sing classic 60s pop songs, as well as their own compositions such as Microwave Love, Collider and My Sweetheart is a Nobel Prize.
The gig on 21 July at the annual CERN music festival will be their first performance for five years – and is billed as their last.
Jim Halley, manager of the band, said there had been a huge upsurge of interest in the band because of the anniversary of the image being uploaded to the web.
The band was even featured on the US talkshow hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, said Jim Halley.
The growing interest has led the Cernettes to post a message on their website explaining their distress at the “press tornado” surrounding them. In particular, they took issue with a report on Motherboard about the circumstances surrounding the use of the image.
In the message, the Cernettes point out that no-one knows which photograph was the first to be uploaded to the web. However, they said, the image did have some significance for the history of the internet.
“This photo was one of those that changed the web, from a platform for physics documentation, to a media for our lives,” they said.
“It was really one of the first,” said Jim Halley.
“Nobody has found anything else loaded before it – put it that way.”
The picture was taken by Silvano de Gennaro, the husband of founder Michele, during the band’s early days when he was trying to spread the word about them.
Jim Halley said he was advising the Cernettes to keep on gigging rather than give up on their musical careers.
“The whole world has gone nuts for them,” he said.
Scientists at CERN in Switzerland will announce that the elusive Higgs boson “God Particle” has been found at a press conference next week, according to new reports.
Five leading theoretical physicists have been invited to the event on Wednesday – sparking speculation that the particle has been discovered.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are expected to say they are 99.99% certain it has been found – which is known as “four sigma” level.
Physicists first predicted that the Higgs Boson subatomic particle exists 48 years ago.
Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University emeritus professor of physics that the particle is named after, is among those who have been called to the press conference in Switzerland.
Scientists at CERN in Switzerland will announce that the elusive Higgs boson “God Particle” has been found at a press conference next week
The management at CERN wants the two teams of scientists to reach the “five sigma” level of certainty with their results – so they are 99.99995% sure – such is the significance of the results.
The Higgs boson is regarded as the key to understanding the universe. Physicists say its job is to give the particles that make up atoms their mass.
Without this mass, these particles would zip though the cosmos at the speed of light, unable to bind together to form the atoms that make up everything in the universe, from planets to people.
The collider, housed in an 18-mile tunnel buried deep underground near the French-Swiss border, smashes beams of protons – sub-atomic particles – together at close to the speed of light, recreating the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
If the physicists’ theory is correct, a few Higgs bosons should be created in every trillion collisions, before rapidly decaying.
This decay would leave behind a “footprint” that would show up as a bump in their graphs.
However, despite 1,600 trillion collisions being created in the tunnel – there have been fewer than 300 potential Higgs particles.
Now it is thought that two separate teams of scientists, who run independent experiments in secret from each other, have both uncovered evidence of the particle.
However, the two groups, CMS and ATLAS, are expected to stop short of confirming its existence.
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