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LHC Reaches Over One Trillion Electron Volts 305

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the zzzzzzzzzzot dept.
The LHC has become the world's highest-energy particle accelerator, weighing in at over one trillion electron volts. "Until now the LHC had been operating at a relatively low energy of 450 billion electron volts. On Sunday, engineers increased the energy of this 'pilot beam,' reaching 1.18 trillion electron volts at 2344 GMT. The previous record of 0.98 trillion electron volts has been held by the Tevatron accelerator since 2001. The LHC is eventually expected to operate at some seven trillion electron volts."
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LHC Reaches Over One Trillion Electron Volts

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  • by furby076 (1461805) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:57PM (#30272708) Homepage
    The article asks this question fairly often and this is important. While testing is key and we need to make sure the systems are working properly (and will hopefully not break) the team at LHC needs to step it up a notch. Waiting this long to get to this test, and waiting another year to get to the 7.5TEVL and none of these are to do science. It's very disappointing to the science community (who at least understand the reasoning) but extremely disappointing to the rest of the world who can't fathom why something so expensive, with such a long development time...still has not provided any research.
    • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:01PM (#30272756)
      Science isn't about instant gratification.
      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        It isn't, since when?

        Or are you talking about theory?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Farmer Tim (530755)

        Science isn't about instant gratification.

        Not a sperm donor, I take it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by furby076 (1461805)
        I agree, science is not about instant gratification but science has to start at some point. LHC project started before:2004 (this was a date i found where parts were shipped, had a hard time finding an actual start date). LHC project was finished the build, and went live: Sept 2008 (first live fire). The LHC project has not started a scientific study as of November 2009. So how much patience do we need to start experimentation, let alone completing it, publishing the raw findings, analyzing the raw findi
        • by gtall (79522)

          Yeah, yer right, what would go wrong with seven trillion electron volts. They should just turn it on already and hide behind the next mountain range. If it doesn't blow its bits, experiments out the whazoo!!

          • Your comment reminds me of the scene from Oceans 11 where they going to produce an EMP, or something similar, and the guy is standing away from the van containing the device. As he raises his hand to push the shiny red button, he moves his free hand to cover his nether region.

            The look on his face as he scrunches when he presses the button is hilarious.

        • by Luyseyal (3154) <{ofni.yul} {ta} {sretaws}> on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:05PM (#30273700) Homepage

          So how much patience do we need to start experimentation, let alone completing it, publishing the raw findings, analyzing the raw findings, and the coming out with some results?

          Not to mention dropping us some more results on the LHC @ Home [lhcathome.cern.ch] grid. World Community Grid has been rather lonely for some time...

          -l

        • by boristhespider (1678416) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:50PM (#30274460)

          haha, are you suggesting that europe pumps over 14bn euro into a machine and then because some people are slightly impatient, they should whack it up to 11 to see what happens?

          "hey, we've not done any tests yet, why are you ramping it up to 7Tev?"

          "some guy on slashdot's getting impatient."

          "some guy on slashdot's getting impatient!? what are we waiting for??"

          *disturbing explosion from underground*

          "oh. shit."

          science will start in january/february. to be honest, what they're finishing up now is calibrating the detectors which is pretty vital -- and even so they've run beams with more energy than any accelerator ever has before. or do you plan to somehow puzzle out the observations by the power of voodoo?

        • by budgenator (254554) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:34PM (#30277010) Journal

          It has been doing "science" for quite a while now, my BOINC client crunched some LHC data long ago, the detectors run just fine off natural cosmic rays collisions. Even at partial energies they could find things they are looking for because HE physics is a probabilistic endeavor, it's just more likely for the events to occur at higher average energies and luminosities.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      It's very disappointing to the science community (who at least understand the reasoning) but extremely disappointing to the rest of the world who can't fathom why something so expensive, with such a long development time...still has not provided any research.

      In other words, the scientific community actually doesn't "understand the reasoning" and is as ignorant as the general public.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelson (129150) *

      I don't see anything in the article that says they'll be waiting another year to test it at higher energies. I do see that they expect to do physics with it "next year" -- i.e. in the calendar year 2010, which is only a month away.

      • by furby076 (1461805)
        @Kelson: FTA: "Officials say it is another milestone in the LHC's drive towards its main scientific tests set for 2010."

        With 2010 being a month away, history has proven that if they were starting the project in a month they would have said so (it would be more exciting). Similar to condominium realtors who say "Gorgeous condos selling from the $200s"...and when you walk in it is in the 200,000 range....starting at $295,000. Plus the article says "Drive" which is another word for "aim" or for "goal" or
      • by physburn (1095481) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:46PM (#30273340) Homepage Journal
        Its a slow ramp up of energies. The LHC has already been doing a few collisions at 450 GeV, here see here [scientificblogging.com], but since the injection energy to the ring 450 GeV, the LHC wasn't doing any acceleration at all there. The 1 TeV milestone show the LHC is in good working order, and the'll be increasing the energy in steps, the few 14 TeV might not be until 2011, it will run at 10 TeV instead for most of 2010 barring any more mishaps and do good physics. CERN have said the'll need to retrofit new quenching mechanisms (safety features for if the superconducting magnets get to hot and cease to superconduct), before they can run at the few 14 TeV. Although it might seem like a shame not to be running at full energy, the Higgs particles are expectable to be of mass 120-190 GeV, what CERN needs to find the Higgs is not high energy but high luminosity, large statistics on a lot of collisions. So the lower energy isn't going to stop the Higgs boson discovery. Supersymmetric particles could have any mass or not exist at all, but the losing the 10-14 TeV range, won't make much difference to begin with.

        ---

        LHC [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:14PM (#30272920)

      Troll?

      It was only switched on again a week ago, and you want it to be spewing out Higgs' already?!!?

      These machines are *stunningly* complex, and always take years to reach their full potential. Google for the luminosity history of any major machine (LEP, Tevatron, etc.) to see how long they took to reach their design goals.

      Trust me, as a particle physicist (posting anonymously to preserve moderations), this week has been amazingly exciting, and everyone I know is stunned by how fast this machine is coming back on.

      "step it up a notch" -- you *must* be a troll.

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:29PM (#30273110) Homepage Journal

      When does the Science ever begin with a particle accelerator project? What do you define as science? They are now crashing particles faster than the Tevatron (as is the subject of the article) and have taken the title of "most powerful particle accelerator". Will this yield results different from what the Tevatron has seen for the past few years? We won't know until it happens. Will the LHC quickly ramp up to 7 TeV? We won't know until it happens. Will anything come of the data produced when it runs at 7 TeV? Again, we won't know until it happens. Considering how much time and money has been spent we should expect the odds are really good that some unique science will come of it some day, but to say that a decade long project is going too slowly because full power won't be reached for another year seems a little short sighted.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lennier (44736)

        "When does the Science ever begin with a particle accelerator project? "

        The same time it always does: When the lead physicist steps into the acceleration chamber... and vanishes.

        Oh boy.

  • Shocking (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:58PM (#30272714)

    Hopefully they know how to conduct themselves this time around.

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:00PM (#30272742) Homepage Journal

    Are these with collisions or merely accelerated beams in a loop? IIRC, the Tevatron did 2x0.98 TeV collisions. Which would be, well ... a bigger bang :)

    But the flip side is that we've built the most powerful ray gun ever, now we just need to wait till the aliens attack.

    • This is 1.18TeV each way, so if they start colliding the total energy will be 2x1.18 TeV.

    • by vondo (303621)

      There have been collisions at 450 on 450. This week, presumably, there will be a day or so of collisions at 1200 on 1200. Progress is being made very quickly now, but they are still proceeding cautiously.

  • If you, like me, are not accustomed to seeing electron volts in this dumbed down prefix-less format, you'll be grateful to find that I've translated the orders of magnitude in the article into a more conventional form:

    1 trillion electron volts = 1 TeV
    1 billion electron volts = 1 GeV

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've translated the orders of magnitude in the article into a more conventional form:

      1 trillion electron volts = 1 TeV
      1 billion electron volts = 1 GeV

      Is that a French billion or an American billion?

      • by Eudial (590661)

        I took it as American, as the article speaks of having just pushed something from (large number) billion to (small number) trillion. Not of an enormous leap between (large number) billion to (small number) trillion.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Sgt. CoDFish (943288)

        With anything scientific, people generally talk about giga (G) being 1x10^9. That's an American billion.

        A French/British billion (1x10^12) is tera (T) in SI prefixes.

        So, since we take 1 eV to be 1.60x10^-19 J (to 3 sig. figs.), 1TeV (units are case sensitive) is:

        1.6x10^-19 x 1x10^12 =

        1.60x10^-7 J, or, with SI prefixes, 160 nJ (nanojoules, 10^-9)

        (Strictly speaking, the Joule isn't the SI standard. In base units, the Joule is:

        m^2.kg.s^-2.

        because W (energy) = F (force, in newtons, which is also not

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:22PM (#30273018) Journal

      1 billion electron volts = 1.6*10^-10 Joules/particle
      1 trillion electron volts = 1.6*10^-7 Joules/particle.
      The energy of each individual particle is tiny by comparison with things that most people encounter but there are trillions of them whizzing around the LHC its self and that adds up quickly.

    • by Macrat (638047) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:35PM (#30273156)
      How much is that in gigawatts?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vlm (69642)

        How much is that in gigawatts?

        Modded as funny, but its a semi serious question. Power = volts times amps.

        Volts, well, you know, they were running at .450 TeV and eventually the thing will run at 7 TeV, supposedly.

        Amps, I googled for LHC beam current and get answers ranging from 180 mA (unknown date) to 530 mA (design as of 1999).

        So, multiply them up and you get somewhere between 80 and 3710 gigawatts.

        Energy equals power multiplied by time. Power is immense, time would be just about zilch, multiply them together and you probably get so

        • by Artraze (600366) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:04PM (#30274680)

          I am surprised that no one pointed this out yet, but eV is a unit of energy; it is the energy of one electron accelerated across one Volt. So the relevant equation here is Power = Energy/Time. Thus the real equation is:

          energy (Energy) * flux (# of particles / time)

          However, as current is, essentially, a charge flux, the particle flux is:

          current (Charge/time) / particle_charge (Charge)

          However, you ended up with the right answer because the particle_charge term you neglected is equal to the one you neglected in the energy term (E=charge*Volts) namely the elementary charge. So to write the whole thing out:

          energy * current / particle_charge

          (elementary_charge * voltage) * current / particle_charge

          When particle_charge==elementary_charge:

          voltage * current

          It's a little pedantic, but it is important to note that eV != V, and also that if they accelerate something other than protons or electrons, then your simplistic calculation would be wrong (through at that point Amps is a somewhat ambiguous/improper measurement and probably wouldn't be given anyway).

      • Just short of One Point Twenty one. But they are almost there!

    • 1 trillion electron volts = 1 TeV

      Or the average kinetic energy of a flying mosquito [web.cern.ch].

      European, I'd imagine.

  • If only.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Metatron (21064) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:02PM (#30272768)

    now we could feed THAT into a flux capacitor.....

  • by reginaldo (1412879) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:05PM (#30272786)
    So I understand that more energy means faster moving protons and anti-protons. How does this equivocate to finding, say, the Higgs-Boson more easily?

    I understand that particles moving at 99.91% c are going to be observable for a longer period of time due to the Lorentz factor, but is that the sole benefit of this massive energy upgrade? Anyone have recommended reading for me?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/11/lhc-sets-new-energy-record-full-power-still-year-away.ars [arstechnica.com]

      The lowest energy supersymmetric particles are expect to reside in the 1TeV range, which is just barely in the detectable range of the Tevatron and the current LHC operating energy. But, to observe these particles, the LHC would have to stay at that energy for some time—of the order of many months—to generate a statistically significant sample of collisions.

      Instead, the plan is to continue to inc

    • by necro81 (917438) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:15PM (#30272932) Journal
      The value is less in the time dilation you get at such high speeds, but rather the equivalent mass. The particles of interest to these scientists have a characteristic mass, which by E=mc^2, means they also have a certain characteristic energy.

      (at relativistic speeds I seem to recall it isn't as simple as E=mc^2, but that's the gist of it).

      If a particle is really heavy, a low-energy particle accelerator is highly unlikely (basically never) going to find it. This is, in part, why many of the heaviest fundamental particles weren't discovered until recently - sufficiently energetic particle accelerators didn't exist.

      In the case of the Higgs Boson, particle physicists don't exactly know how heavy it is. Based on a variety of previous experiments, they have placed lower (and upper?) bounds on its weight. Because we haven't yet found it in our most powerful accelerators, it stands to reason that it is at least more heavy (i.e., more energetic) than 1-2 TeV. Most, but not all, physicists believe the LHC, at 7 TeV, should be energetic enough to find the Higgs boson - if what we think we know about it and particle physics is all correct.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        In the case of the Higgs Boson, particle physicists don't exactly know how heavy it is. Based on a variety of previous experiments, they have placed lower (and upper?) bounds on its weight.

        According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], if the standard model is correct, there i 95% confidentiality that the lower bound is 170GeV and the upper is 186GeV

    • Anyone have recommended reading for me?

      This should answer all your questions. [scienceexc...npoint.com]

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:16PM (#30272944)
      My understanding is that the faster you can move particles around, the harder you can smash them together. The harder you can smash them together, the easier it is to see the fundamental building blocks of those pieces. Imagine a car wreck with both cars doing 50mph. Now imagine the same wreck with each car doing 100mph. Which will break the cars into smaller pieces.
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:19PM (#30272976) Journal

      To create a particle like the Higgs boson, the collision energy needs to at least equal the mass of the particle you're trying to create. The higher energy collisions in the LHC increase the odds of finding the Higgs because of this. THe mass of the Higgs isn't known. However, the more collisions we do at higher energies, the thinner the range of masses the Higgs can be.

    • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:29PM (#30273100) Homepage Journal

      Let me honor /. tradition and use a car analogy here:

      If you smash 2 GM Metros together, you CANNOT put together 2 Grand Marquis from the debris - there just isn't enough metal.

      However, if you smash 2 Peterbuilts together, you can, at least in theory, put together 2 Grand Marquis from that debris - there's enough metal.

      -----

      When you smash particles together, there has to be enough mass-energy (enough metal) to form the particles you are looking for, or they won't appear. Mass is energy, energy is mass, speed is kinetic energy, and thus mass.

      The Higgs is somewhere north of 1TeV - how much north of that varies from theory to theory. If the Higgs is a Grand Marquis, right now, the Tevatron and the LHC are smashing together Tauruses. Soon, the LHC will be up to stretch limos. At full power, the LHC will be at the Hummer3 level.

      And cosmic rays are at the freight train level, but since that's not happening in the lab, it does no good: what fun is a collision if nobody caught it on video?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by owlstead (636356)

        So what you're saying is that we could create 2 Grand Marquis if we accelerated 2 mini-Coopers to high enough speeds?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Nadaka (224565)

          I don't think you could get mini's going fast enough even if you dumped one of them out of a plane. I seem to remember something like this on mythbusters.

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        So based on this, if I smash two sheets of paper together fast enough, I'll have enough mass-energy to build a car from the resulting debris? Or will the Lorentz factor mean that I could do it, but the resulting vehicle would only exist for a short period of time?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by wowbagger (69688)

          Actually, yes, if the paper is moving fast enough, you could. Of course, that would have to be REALLY REALLY fast - assume a sheet of paper to be roughly 100 grams (.1 kg), and a Grand Marquis wet is about 2000kg, the paper would have to be going at least 0.999999999c. Then you'd have to do it a bunch of times before 2 Grand Marquis popped out.

          Cheaper to just get the dealer incentives and finance it yourself....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wowbagger (69688)

        Let me correct a statement: when I said "The Higgs is somewhere north of 1TeV", what I meant was "the energies needed to form a Higgs within a reasonable period of time are north of 1TeV" - the actual mass is currently thought to be in the low hundreds of GeV.

        If the Higgs were actually 1TeV in mass that would REALLY screw up the Standard Model.

        (now, there are some theorized particles in the same family as the Higgs that are thought to be 1TeV or more, but....)

    • by sjames (1099)

      The particles they're interested in have a given mass which is equivalent to energy as in E=mc^2

      In order for a particle collision to result in the production of a given particle, the energy of the collision must be at least the mass of the particle. In practice, since several particles tend to be produced in a collision, the energy must be considerably higher. Slowing time is helpful, but is not the primary reason for accelerating the particles.

    • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:36PM (#30275110) Homepage

      > So I understand that more energy means faster moving protons and anti-protons.
      > How does this equivocate to finding, say, the Higgs-Boson more easily?

      In the quantum world you have to forget about "particles" in the classical sense. There is no spoon.

      Think, instead, of a big bag with a bunch of quantities in it. Reach into the bag and you can pull something out, shouting "electron"! The chance that you'll say "electron" and not "proton" is based on what you put into the bag, you can only get out something that meets the conservation laws. So if you put in 0 charge, you might get a neutron out, or an electron and a positron, both have net charge 0.

      Which one of those you get depends on the rest of the things you put in, spin, isospin, color, momentum, etc. Chances are you'll get the set of particles that has the lowest energy and still meets the requirements. However, you'll always have a chance of getting the oddballs even if there is a low-energy solution.

      The reason for high energies in accelerators is to fill up the bag. That way you can reach in and pull out a single really big particle instead of the bunch of little ones you put into it. If the Higgs really is in the 115 to 180 GeV range, as currently believed, you're going to need to put in a WHOLE LOT of energy so you have a lot left over. And even then, you're going to have to try a WHOLE LOT of times before you're going to see it. It's all statistics at that point.

      > Anyone have recommended reading for me?

      Yes, "The Great Design: Particles, Fields, and Creation". A bit low-rent, but does cover the topics.

      Maury

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zevans (101778)

      Recommended reading: The God Particle by Leon Lederman. He was head of CERN for a while and won his Nobel prize for discovering the bottom/beauty quark at Fermilab. This is THE best book I've read on the topic. Just bear in mind that when he wrote it the SSC was going to be the next big project and LHC is largely fulfilling that role instead, as it turns out.

      The period of observation isn't really a factor, because one of the things that makes this tricky is that the heavier particles such as the hypothetica

  • I forgot to tell you. Don't cross the streams... It would be bad...

  • No Science? (Score:4, Funny)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:28PM (#30273080)

    They say that no science has been done yet, but now we know that 1.18 TeV is below the energy level at which higgs bosons travel back in time to disrupt supercollider experiments.

    (Yes, I'm kidding.)

  • Fermilab better send over another bird...
  • How much is that in 1.21 Jigawatt increments?

  • by ebursey (634056) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:11PM (#30273808)
    ... as a scientific tool, I'd say it has a lot of potential. Ba-dum-bump
    • by sconeu (64226)

      We are Ohm of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.

  • In other news, the Earth has been consumed by an artificial black hole. The mice are not amused at losing a second one.

  • The beams at the LHC go round and round, round and round, round and round.....
  • Eventually they will crank it to full power and.....nothing will happen. I'm sure they could always use it to burn DVD's or something.

  • Pathetic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quibbler (175041) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:44PM (#30277760)

    The half-finished, mostly-paid-for SSC [wikipedia.org] was slated at 20 TeV. You'll forgive my shrug at 1 TeV. This is an embarrassing footnote on the state of physics in modern civilization. Thanks Clinton.

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