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Science

LHC Success! 1007

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the good-news-everybody dept.
Tomahawk writes "It worked! The LHC was turned on this morning and has been shown to have worked. Engineers cheered as the proton particles completed their first circuit of the underground ring which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). (And we're all still alive, too!)" Here is a picture from the control room which I'm sure makes sense to someone that isn't me.
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LHC Success!

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  • by lyapunov (241045) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:27AM (#24946339)

    When I was an undergraduate studying mathematics one of the most intriguing comments made by a professor was
     
    Cutting edge mathematics takes about 50 years to find its way into physics, from there it takes about 25 years to find its way into engineering.
     
    With the advent of the LHC and other amazing advances, like easy access to substantial computing power, do you think that this still holds true? By this, I mean do you think that life cycle times will shorten, or will they remain the same because even though these advances are being made, they are at higher, or very specific level, and as such, they will not be able to be developed into applications as quickly?

    Thoughts?

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:27AM (#24946347) Homepage
    The history channel ran a special on the LHC last night - I highly recommend everyone watch it!

    I've always known this project was enormous, but I really didn't get it until I watched this special. They'd spend 5 minutes or show showing this massive facility with 30 foot high equipment - and this would be just like a little instrumentation room - just one of many. Truly amazing.

    Working in "technology" - all the same-'old same-'ol computers we see day-in and day-out look like stupid adding machines next to the scale and complexity of the stuff there.

    Speaking of which - it also went over their "computing grid". Their data storage farm was enormous. They also had ten thousand nodes to crunch the data!

    BTW - What kind of machines did they have you ask? Some slick IBM 1u rackmount chassis? No - just a bunch of cheap, off-white, off-brand tower PCs sitting on rows and rows of shelves.

    I'm sure they (did the smart thing) and did what Google did. High-end machines? No. Support Contracts? No.

    If it dies? Pitch it and get a new one.

  • Dumb question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#24946447)

    Does the 'large' in large hadron collider refer to the size of the hadrons or the size of the collider?

  • by suso (153703) * on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:37AM (#24946525) Homepage Journal

    True true. I know there have been several instances like this before. And it seems like each time something like this comes up, there are people with "strong evidence". I'm just saying that it seems like we don't really learn from history like they say we do.

  • by Zarhan (415465) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:40AM (#24946571)

    My only question is, when the smoke clears and we're all fine, will the doomsayers ever learn for the next time? Probably not. I'm sure next time they'll say
    "this time, its different, the world is really going to end this time".

    For a local astronomy club, I once did a little presentation, I think the title was "bad astronomy in popular culture". While the scope was mostly about stuff like sound-in-space, space planes ála Star Wars, and so on, one of the topics I covered was Niburu - the supposed planet that will kill us all. It actually had little visibility even in mainstream press so it sort of warranted coverage.

    http://www.detailshere.com/niburu.htm [detailshere.com] is the "Doom!" page. Anyway, for my research, I just checked out webarchive.org...and looked at the snapshots from previous years. It was basically updated every year to say that "next year IT will come". As you can see, right now it's saying "2008-2011" :). Compare with the version from 2003 february [archive.org] or from 2005 [archive.org] as examples :)

  • by areReady (1186871) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:41AM (#24946605)

    It's pretty obvious you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about

    In the first place, our current understanding is that black holes DO dissipate, through Hawking Radiation. Tiny black holes fade away almost instantaneously.

    In the second place, tiny black holes are formed all the time. When interstellar dust hits the atmosphere, the resulting energy discharge can form tiny black holes, and fairly often. Most of them dissipate harmlessly.

    Wait, there's more! Some black holes DO form when they hit the atmosphere and survive. Know what happens to them? Well, first consider how small a chunk of mass dense enough to be considered a black hole has to be when it's composed of the equivalent of a few protons. We are talking sub-electron size here. These black holes sink to the center of the Earth, but are so small they don't interact with any atoms on the way down. They sit at the center of the Earth, absorbing a new particle every few thousand years.

    Events with the power of the LHC happen all the time at the edges of the atmosphere, and if they really had a reasonable capacity to cause a catastrophic event, it would have happened naturally many times over already.

    That said, the night before collisions start, I'm having an End of the Universe party.

  • by lyapunov (241045) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @09:49AM (#24946715)

    I must admit there was some push pull to this. Lebesque integration and complex analysis was developed largely in part by trying to solve heat transfer problems.
     
    Having said this, I would think that many of the applications of this work was not fully realized many years later.
     
    I must admit weakness in the sense that I do not have many examples. The only one that is coming to mind is the some of the work of Euler's. He found a ways to describe inertia and flexing and strength. It was not until early this century that material science, like studying the strength of materials, was really solidified.
     
    This is a longer life cycle though. About 100 years or better...

  • What brand of beer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jubilex (28229) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:17AM (#24947159)

    The article ends:

      > Engineers celebrated the success with champagne,
      > but a certain brand of beer was not on the menu.

    Now I may just be some dumb American, but I can't figure out which brand they are talking about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:24AM (#24947287)

    We haven't, but the universe causes such high-energy interactions to happen constantly without destroying itself.

    The nuke-might-ignite-the-atmosphere thing is something of a special case because they ONLY had raw theory to base it on. They were virtually certain it wouldn't happen, but since humanity had never caused an energetic fission event before they had no definitive experimental evidence to back that up. The LHC by contrast is building on decades of advanced nuclear / particle physics work, to test the specifics of detailed theories. We have a very clear idea about what could happen, and the evidence that it will be completely safe is overwhelming. Due to the very low mass of the particles, the energy released in a 5 TeV collision will "only" be about that of 2 freight trains running into each other, which is certainly energetic but perfectly controllable. As one LHC scientist put it, the risk of you spontaneously evaporating due to random quantum events is much higher than the LHC somehow killing you.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@gmai l . com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:53AM (#24947765) Homepage Journal
    I think you misunderstand the area of the concerns of the "crackpots". It's not the chance of a black hole forming that's a concern (actually I think it'd be damn cool and potentially interesting if they DO form black holes) - the concern is a mislaid fear of what a mini black hole would do. It's almost certainly going to dissipate EXTREMELY quickly after being formed. If the current standing theories about things like Hawking radiation are in fact wrong, and it does NOT dissipate, then it'll fall to the centre of the Earth and then pretty much just sit there doing nothing - it doesn't have enough mass to "suck" anything in to it. For all we know (or care) they could already be a TINY black hole at the centre of our planet - it won't affect us either way.
  • Re:Realtime LHC Data (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:58AM (#24947837)

    http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/ [hasthelhcd...eearth.com]

    Don't be silly - that's just a HTML page containing the hard-coded word "No".

    This one [hasthelarg...rldyet.com] is better. If you do view source, you'll see that not only has this guy actually bothered to code for the possibility of the world being destroyed, but he's provided an EMAIL address to complain to if the world ends and the website isn't updated.

    Plus, if you disable Javascript the world will go on for ever...

  • by tfg004 (974156) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:58AM (#24948807)
    I was wondering....

    Suppose, a tiny black whole is created. And suppose Hawking-radiation does not happen to exists (as far as i know, it has never been confirmed to exist yet), so the black hole will not evaporate itself into this radiation... how dangerous is such a black hole?

    The energies that are used and produced are extreme to our senses, however I think they are still nothing compared to the forces and energies found in the galactical black holes.
    So, how quick will it grow? Will it be possible to suck up the earth in a matter of minutes, or will it take millions of years?

    In the latter case, I think it will just sink to the center of gravity of the earth. There it may first wobble about around the CoG, and (later) have some growing impact on the rotation of the earth as it gets bigger.
    (Could it be possible we already have a tiny black hole down in the center, due to collisions from radition from outer space, which helps keeping the earth spinning?)

    What do you think?
  • by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:59AM (#24948819) Journal

    Something created the universe out of nothing. Which suggests space itself may be damaged by certain events, possibly creating another universe inflating at the speed of the Big Bang.

    Now that'd be something.

    A non-evaporating black hole would merely swallow the Earth over a matter of days or weeks. Then the moon would continue to orbit a black hole with the Earth's mass, but no more ocean tides sapping its orbital energy, and the rest of the solar system wouldn't notice all that much.

    It would drastically reduce the probability of a collision with a planet-killer asteriod, though. So we got that going for us.

  • by ddraculdiablo (1361531) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:02PM (#24948865)
    You know if these "naysayers" and doomsday fanatics had there way then we would not have half of the tech that we and them rely on, on a daily basis. With the Atom bomb everyone thought we would kill ourselves but out of the deadlist WMD every made came a cheap reliable source of fuel. I say push these test to the limit who knows what the possibilites are. Who knows because of the experiments done today we could have a "startrek" future. The bigger the risk the better the payout. So if we destroy our planet so what we're doing it know in other ways. why should this be any diffrent.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:18PM (#24949119) Homepage

    I wonder if she was talking about Quarks in that last panel.......

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#24950283)

    if a black hole was to be made, it would need mass first, so it can become a very powerful gravitational force. to get mass itll need to suck in everything at a very small force, so the first thing it would suck in would be air, then if it gets stronger, a little dust, and eventually leading onto the whole earth. dont worry if a black hole is made we will have at least a day unless the scientists somehow seal it from the outside world.

    a second scenario which might arrise is a nuclear explosion. i know protons arnt responcible for these, but we are hitting these protons at the speed of light! protons have the same charge, which means its like trying to hit north and north of a magnet together. its not suppost to happen.

    so they are the 2 worst scenarios, the end of the world or the end of france. i'd choose france lol.

    but face it people the threat level is extremely
    low. but there is that element of uncertanty which leads of theories like this.

  • by d_54321 (446966) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#24950291) Journal

    Maybe when the LHC was turned on, it did annihilate Earth and the universe; but just before doing so, it spawned this alternate reality we woke up in.

    Or maybe it did create a blackhole larger than what they expected, like pea-sized, with a basketball-sized event horizon, and they're just doing a damn good job of keeping it under wraps.

    Either scenario makes sense if you think about it. I mean, how embarrassing would that be? Imagine that press conference: "On behalf of all the world's scientist, I'd just like to go record as saying 'Whoops, our bad.'"

  • by shish (588640) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:59PM (#24951409) Homepage
    Have people become so excited over something actually interesting that they've forgotten to spam the discussion with old memes? I ask because "does it run linux" could actually be relevant -- That screenshot looks like KDE; now I wonder what the rest of their software stack is like...
  • by jamesshuang (598784) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @03:01PM (#24951445) Homepage
    That's the energy of a single atom. The overall energy of the entire beam is actually quite surprising. I've heard the beam has the same energy as a carrier at 5 knots. Obviously, this is not a dangerous amount of energy. The ohmygod particle [fourmilab.ch] had a much higher single-particle energy, for example.
  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Burning1 (204959) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @06:08PM (#24954385) Homepage

    You're making a huge assumption here...

    From my understanding, energy cannot be created nor destroyed in a closed system (such as the universe.) While it's tempting to believe that everything has a beginning and an end, it's more realistic to see that matter and energy simply change forms. For example, a baby isn't created out of nothing... He or she is formed from food consumed by the mother. Likewise, he or she doesn't cease to exist when dead... The person simply changes form back into the kind of dirt that grew the food he or she was formed from.

    So, saying that the universe created really is inconsistent with everything we've observed. It's more probable that the universe always has existed, and always will exist... Although perhaps not in it's present form.

    My favorite theory is that the universe will eventually re-compress to form another big bang, and that it's destined to forever continue forming, spawning life, and collapsing.

    I cite Atheist Universe by David Mills for a lot of this information.

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