Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's Almost Time To Get Really Small

The Large Hadron Collider is getting really cold now. In fact inside the LHC it is now colder than anywhere in the Solar System. It's colder there than the South Pole of (former planet)Pluto. It needs to be this cold so that they can accurately shape the electromagnetic field needed to cause two particles, going in opposite directions, at nearly the speed of light, to collide. Here is an image showing the different sectors fo the LHC.

The sectors are color coded to show the cooling status. Light blue is very cold, near absolute zero. Once all 8 sectors dipole magnets are cooled, they will guide the beams along a 17 mile ring and smash them together inside the various detectors. It's exciting to be around to witness this grand experiment. It's quite possible that we could discover some very interesting things. Things like the Higgs Boson, Multi-Dimensional Universes, and other even stranger things. Why do all of this? Brian Cox gives my favorite TED Talk and explains.