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Space Science Technology

One of the Coolest Places In the Universe 338

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-need-thicker-gloves dept.
phantomflanflinger writes "The Cern Laboratory, home of the Large Hadron Collider, is fast becoming one of the coolest places in the Universe. According to news.bbc.co.uk, the Large Hadron Collider is entering the final stages of being lowered to a temperature of 1.9 Kelvin (-271C; -456F) — colder than deep space. The LHC aims to re-create the conditions just after the Big Bang and continue the search for the Higgs boson."
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One of the Coolest Places In the Universe

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  • by Exanon (1277926) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:38AM (#24269891)
    We built the LHC to look for tits?
  • A countdown clock to when they fire that thing up? One that works in both Linux and Windows?

    Or explain how another program can be used for that.

  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:40AM (#24269905) Homepage Journal

    I find it ironic or at least counter-intuitive that it's necessary to create one of the coldest spaces to look for particles that flourished when things were at their hottest. It makes sense once explained, but I doubt Joe Sixpack would stick around long enough to hear it, let alone grasp it. They just think this thing is going to make a black hole that eats the planet.

    Mal-2

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kaos07 (1113443)
      I doubt Joe Sixpack knows of the existence of the LHC, or the measurement of kelvin, let alone the actual *temperature* of the LHC measured in kelvin.
      • It is not that impressive at all. If you read the article, they are cooling the superconducting magnets with liquid helium. (Nearly?) every university chemistry department will have an NMR spectrometer with a superconducting magnet doing at the same temperature, and many will have a SQUID going colder. So although it is *one* of the coldest places on earth, it is a fairly routine temperature.

    • It makes sense once explained, but I doubt Joe Sixpack would stick around long enough to hear it, let alone grasp it.

      Not just Joe Sixpack, but anybody who doesn't care much about the experiment at this point. It's like listening to Joe Sixpack's plans for a rock climbing trip... tell me all the details after something interesting has happened.

  • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@gm ... m minus language> on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:41AM (#24269907)

    Trying to discover a hypothetical elementary particle, or trying to create Batman's next villain [youtube.com]?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:42AM (#24269915)

    Have they checked behind the couch?

  • Warning! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Slur (61510) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:42AM (#24269917) Homepage Journal

    Tongue contact with cold collider parts can result in serious injury.

    • Re:Warning! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:17AM (#24270127)
      Do not lick collider with remaining tongue.
      • by bakes (87194)

        Replying to undo wrong moderation - I clicked the wrong option and it was applied before I could stop it. Stupid auto-save system...

      • Re:Warning! (Score:4, Funny)

        by Born2bwire (977760) on Monday July 21, 2008 @08:58AM (#24273187)

        Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to the Large Hadron Collider.

        Caution: The Large Hadron Collider may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

        The Large Hadron Collider contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

        Do not use the Large Hadron Collider on concrete.

        Discontinue use of the Large Hadron Collider if any of the following occurs:

                * itching
                * vertigo
                * dizziness
                * tingling in extremities
                * loss of balance or coordination
                * slurred speech
                * temporary blindness
                * profuse sweating
                * or heart palpitations.

        If the Large Hadron Collider begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

        The Large Hadron Collider may stick to certain types of skin.

        When not in use, the Large Hadron Collider should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of the Large Hadron Collider, the scientific community, and its parent company, the military-industrial complex, of any and all liability.

        Ingredients of the Large Hadron Collider include an unknown glowing green substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

        The Large Hadron Collider has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

        Do not taunt the Large Hadron Collider.

        The Large Hadron Collider comes with a lifetime warranty.

    • by Fastball (91927)

      I double-dog dare you!

  • Curious... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever&nerdshack,com> on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:45AM (#24269929)
    If the magnets are superconducting, why would they need a good thermal conductor? It's not as if superconductors generate any heat in operation.

    And are they really going to push the magnetic fields up to the point where they truly need to cool high-temp superconductors down to the edge of absolute zero? TFA says they're using enormous currents, but doesn't this leave an awful small margin?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by seeker_1us (1203072)

      If the magnets are superconducting, why would they need a good thermal conductor? It's not as if superconductors generate any heat in operation.

      That's an excellent question. I'm guessing they are not using HTC superconductors, which can be cooled with liquid nitrogen, due to the potential for current-induced superconductivity breakdown.

      Here's a little background on the effect (Thank you Wikipedia...)

      This equation, which is known as the London equation, predicts that the magnetic field in a superc

      • Re:Curious... (Score:5, Informative)

        by amazeofdeath (1102843) on Monday July 21, 2008 @02:18AM (#24270429)
        HTC technology is not available yet for applications like this. They are using conventional Sn3Ti (and NbTi to some extent) superconductors. I'm not sure how the Wikipedia quote is relevant here. Although the wires in LHC are made of LTS materials, the materials still are type II superconductors. The main reason to have large cooling capacity is a phenomenon called "quenching". The wires in the coils are actually made of really thin filaments of superconducting material inside a copper matrix. These filaments can (and do) go out of superconducting state because of a local problem, and at this small point there's naturally high ohmic heating. If the system can't respond quickly enough to lower the local temperature so that the superconducting state is restored, this point of normal state will start to spread at a high speed, causing more heating and boiling off the coolant quite expensively. So this is the reason why you need large cooling capacity and thermal conductivity.
  • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:48AM (#24269949)
    When they create a black hole and destroy the earth, they can say "but it was such a cool experiment..."
    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:53AM (#24269981)

      When they create a black hole and destroy the earth, they can say "but it was such a cool experiment..."

      Actually, they can't.

      Unless they synchronize the destruction with a space tourism trip.

      ...

      Everybody! Start checking for suspicious space flights!

    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:45AM (#24270257)

      Well it would effectively put an end to the vast majority of our problems, replacing them with a single massive problem.

    • by Eudial (590661)

      When they create a black hole and destroy the earth, they can say "but it was such a cool experiment..."

      Ah, but they have assured us that that almost certainly probably won't happen.

  • Bring it on (Score:5, Funny)

    by charlesbakerharris (623282) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:49AM (#24269951)
    The LHC has nothing on my mom's basement. RIGHT HERE is where it's at, baby. Cool Central.
  • by seb42 (920797) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:08AM (#24270065)
    In the scifi show Lexx, Earth is a type 13 planet which will shrink to the size of a pea due to physicists attempting to determine the precise mass of the Higgs boson particle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson_in_fiction [wikipedia.org]
  • by SlowMovingTarget (550823) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:09AM (#24270083) Homepage

    The collider is so cool you could keep a side of meat in it for a month. It is so incredibly hip it has trouble seeing over its own pelvis. Hey, you sass that hoopy large hadron collider, there's a frood that really knows where its towel's at.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So whatever the cooling mechanism is removes heat from the volume faster than the microwave background heats it up?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would have assumed that something this cool would be used to search for the elusive Fonz Particle.

  • by naz404 (1282810) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:55AM (#24270317) Homepage
    [Guo_Si] Hey, you know what sucks?
    [TheXPhial] vaccuums
    [Guo_Si] Hey, you know what sucks in a metaphorical sense?
    [TheXPhial] black holes
    [Guo_Si] Hey, you know what just isn't cool?
    [TheXPhial] lava?
  • uneconomic (Score:5, Funny)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Monday July 21, 2008 @02:18AM (#24270425)

    Have you seen the cost of this large hagrid colliding thing? What is the point of wasting all that tax money looking for that higgs boson that, when found, will probably have been stepped on or at least be all dirty. Wouldn't it make more sense just to write the boson off at the next inventory count and just requisition a NEW higgs boson from stores?
    Okay, we need to be more environmentally aware now, and less wasteful of materials but this just confirms what people have told me about these CERN guys; they just take stuff to extremes.

  • by Holi (250190)

    it doesn't exist.

  • Why does light stop accelerating at 186,000 miles per second?

    Does that everything in the universe has some mass?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Holi (250190)

      light does not stop accelerating at 186,000 mps, it travels at 186,000 mps (well... approximately) in a vacuum. it does not accelerate, it travels at a constant speed (as far as we know), so c is a constant. Now it does slow down as it travels through a medium (water, air, crystal), but mostly that is caused by the absorption and re-emmitance (is that a word?) of the photons.

      • by adri (173121)

        Please read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permittivity [wikipedia.org] and search for related material on the electromagnetic properties of space.

      • by Stooshie (993666)

        ... it does not accelerate, it travels at a constant speed ...

        ... Now it does slow down as it travels through a medium ...

        Therefore it speeds up (ahem, accelerates) when it comes back out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Wavebreak (1256876)

          Depends on your point of view. The *apparent* speed of light (group velocity - that is, the speed of wave propagation) in a medium is variable, but individual photons have zero mass, thus *can not* experience acceleration. In terms of basic classical physics, a=F/m, m is 0 - division by zero, the equation is unsolvable, i.e. the concept simply does not apply.

  • ... and expected an article about a beach club in Barcelona.
  • by kaos07 (1113443) on Monday July 21, 2008 @03:29AM (#24270781)

    Anyone know the coldest place in the universe?

    Please don't say Cheney's heart...

  • The apparent movement of galaxies moving away from each other is what gives rise to the notion of the big bang. What if this is just an optical illusion? If matter in the universe is gradually shrinking in size (there is plenty of room for a lot of shrinkage in each atom) by a means we are not yet familiar with (forty standard kilogram weights around the world are mysteriously different weights now), then the universe started off in a superheated cloud and gradually cooled off in our local area. As galaxies

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