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Science

First Collisions At the LHC 256

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the make-sure-the-world-is-still-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At 1:06 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) today, the first protons collided at 7 TeV in the Large Hadron Collider. These first collisions, recorded by the LHC experiments, mark the start of the LHC's research program."
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First Collisions At the LHC

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  • First events (Score:5, Informative)

    by mu22le (766735) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:41AM (#31668990) Homepage Journal

    One of the first events seen in Atlas:
    http://imgur.com/ugwnl.png [imgur.com]

    and in CMS:
    http://cmsdoc.cern.ch/events/snapshotA.png [cmsdoc.cern.ch]

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:41AM (#31668992) Homepage Journal

    in the history of mankind. this may be the real deal. its possible that we may find the first 'entity' as described as the base of existence in Dewey B Larson's physics approach.

    • by symes (835608) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:52AM (#31669102) Journal
      I'm not sure this is possible. I once had a beer with an almost eminent particle physicist. We kind of agreed that if this is the "ultimate" God particle then funding for particle physics could be under serious threat. What is the point in funding LHC type experiments if there are no more particles to be found? After a few more beers we hypothesised that the God particle must be constructed from, not particles, but something else a little bit like lego. And that the only way to understand this lego-like property of ultimate particles was lots of particle physicists working full time for many years on LHC-II.
      • by yabos (719499)
        I always wondered how far does this go. We know atoms are made of quarks, we don't know what quarks are made of. If the God particle is made up of even smaller parts, what are those parts made of? This is a total brain fuck but fun to think about.
        • by Kierthos (225954) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:16AM (#31669360) Homepage

          It's turtles all the way down.

        • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
          Strings vibrating at different frequencies.
        • Well, the planck length may be the size of the universe's "pixels." Physics as we know it may simply not exist in spaces any smaller than that. We haven't been able to do experiments on that small a scale yet, and there are theories that much more quantum weirdness goes on in such small spaces. As it stands, current understanding of what lies beneath a planck length is little more than "there be dragons."
      • Not to worry. There will always be doubters, people (and/or other scientists) who think they faked it, and even those who want to recreate it. Physics funding will never die, it will just have a different focus and purpose.

        On the other hand, if someone ever does discover the God particle, I hope they ask it what the true physics religion is.
      • by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:16AM (#31669348)

        IIRC, there are still something like six particles, which the math says MUST exist, but have never been observed. At this point those particles are as theoretical as the "god particle". Simply put, even if I don't correctly recall the number of still theoretical particles, there is still lots and lots of theoretical research yet to be done. Likely, at least many life times worth.

        • I wonder if they will go the Dark Matter/Energy way, and simply call the universe wrong. ^^

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MozeeToby (1163751)

          But how many of our theorized particles are actually detectable? It's all well and good to say that gravitons exist, but I don't think we're going to be building a detector the size of Jupiter and waiting around for a few thousands years to prove the idea are we? At some point we'll run out of detectable particles to detect.

        • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
          And then finally the theoretical research might start bringing some good old mechanical advances... warp drive?
        • IIRC, there are still something like six particles, which the math says MUST exist, but have never been observed.

          Also don't forget that some other maths says that just about every quantum particle shouldn't exist-- or at least that the maths used to describe them is not consistent. One of the LHCs goals is ultimately to move beyond the Standard model on which it is based.

        • IIRC, there are still something like six particles, which the math says MUST exist, but have never been observed.

          You forgot to add "if the Standard Model is a true and accurate description of reality".

          One possibility that seems to be frequently overlooked is that we'll discover something totally unexpected, as opposed to just a confirmation that we already know everything....

      • Always makes me think of "Understanding Space and Time" by Alastair Reynolds, which can be found in one of his books of short SciFi stories "Zima Blue and Other Stories". Not to spoil the plot but it is one mans struggle with an near eternity of discovering fundamental laws beneath fundamental laws until his "brain" is so big it has to be "scaffolded" to prevent gravitational collapse.

        A great read- highly recommended.
      • by corbettw (214229)

        Understanding the particles is only the first step. Next would be to bend them to one's will. So while theoretical scientists might be out of a job, it'll be a boom time for mad scientists (no pun intended).

    • Then you need to find the Anti-God Particle. Which you can use them to create explosions that will destroy time, I will stop 9/11 by destroying time between 2000 and 2008

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        Hey! I had some good times between 2000 and 2008 so could you please only destroy time in New York during that period?

    • in the history of mankind. this may be the real deal. its possible that we may find the first 'entity' as described as the base of existence in Dewey B Larson's physics approach.

      +4, Insightful?

      If we find the Higgs (or not), there are zero implications for the existence of a higher power. We call it the "God particle" primarily because it's proven damned near impossible to prove or disprove the existence of.

      There are plenty of phenomena observed in quantum mechanics that exhibit "otherworldly" behavior. The Higgs is not one of them -- our interest in it is almost purely mathematical -- if we find it, it will simply help to confirm a set of assumptions we've been using about partic

      • contrary to what you have misconceived, my post you have replied to has no relevance with god, religion or higher power whatsoever.

        it basically points out that this experiment may award us with the knowledge of what 'existing' is. all the 'otherwordly behavior' pale in importance when compared to knowledge of the concept of 'existing'. note i didnt say 'existence', i am talking about the mechanics of existing, or not existing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      Or not ... as the case may be. Computer Science has convinced me that a theory of everything might not be a practical development even if we knew all the relevant fundamental laws.

      Let's say that in principle we learn something that allows us to calculate a formula to unify gravitation and electromagnetism. We don't know whether that formula is decidable, whether its membership in the set of correct formulae can be computed. Even if it is decidable, it might belong to a complexity class like EXPTIME-COMPL

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pclminion (145572)

        What's this talk about "correctness?" No formula in the history of physics is known to be "correct." There are a bunch of tattered old incorrect theories which were disproved by experiment, and what's left is the best we have to work with. But to think that we could ever prove a theory "correct" displays a fundamental misunderstanding of science.

  • Surprised (Score:5, Funny)

    by impaledsunset (1337701) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:41AM (#31669002)

    I'm quite suprised that I can reach Slashdot's server now that Earth is destroyed and gone.

    • by Fzz (153115) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:49AM (#31669080)
      All the other versions of you in all the other branches of spacetime are toast. The only branch of spacetime where you can still reach Slashdot's server is this one where you got really lucky.
    • by dingen (958134)
      But if the entire Earth would be swallowed by a black hole at once, would we even notice it? I'm sure there would be quite a difference when viewed from outside of the black hole, but when you're inside, wouldn't everything be exactly the same, relatively speaking?
      • by daveime (1253762)

        Except for the fact we'd all be scrunched down to the size of a golf ball, nothing at all would be different.

        • by dingen (958134)
          Yeah, but everything around us will be equally scrunched down in to the size of something that is relative to our shrinkage, right?
          • There will be no shrinking that you will perceive, should you fall into one. There will be much rending, though. The compression comes afterwards.

            I'd recommend heading straight into the centre through the axis of rotation, though. High energy x-ray death sounds better to me than being pulled apart.
      • by tepples (727027)

        But if the entire Earth would be swallowed by a black hole at once, would we even notice it?

        Yes. Tidal forces [wikipedia.org] would stretch everything like spaghetti and tear it apart.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm quite suprised that I can reach Slashdot's server now that Earth is destroyed and gone.

      Welcome to Cachedot.org, impaledsunset. Your new user ID is '6'. May all your sunsets be impaled.

    • *checks* Nope, still alive.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Well, now, to be fair, the LHC is only up to half power at this point.

      Of course, the idea that we'll be swallowed up by a black hole is still utterly absurd. But our current and ongoing existence is, unfortunately, not sufficient evidenced to completely disprove the cranks.

    • by rufey (683902)
      Various webcams also caught the moments after the collisions. I also cannot understand why Slashdot, or CERN for that matter, are still available on the Internet after this. http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html [cyriak.co.uk]
    • by neoform (551705)

      I'm quite suprised that I can reach Slashdot's server now that Earth is destroyed and gone.

      Don't you know anything about black holes?! When you get sucked in to them your speed increases so much that it takes forever for you to actually get pulled in, so much so, that it ends up being business as usual on earth.. duh

    • by grumpyman (849537)
      Are you using the wayback machine?
  • Resources (Score:5, Informative)

    by tist (1086039) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:45AM (#31669034)
    You can see the beam status here: http://op-webtools.web.cern.ch/op-webtools/vistar/vistars.php?usr=LHC1 [web.cern.ch] and follow the webcast here http://webcast.cern.ch/lhcfirstphysics/ [webcast.cern.ch]. The webcast screen also has links to each of the experiments.
  • Excellent news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rumith (983060) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:49AM (#31669070)
    After all the years of delays and cost overruns, I'm extremely glad to see LHC entering normal operation mode. Congratulations to everybody who contributed and thank you very much for your commitment and hard work!
    P.S. The labs down the hall that participate in the collaboration will be partying tonight :)
    • by quenda (644621) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:13AM (#31669314)

      P.S. The labs down the hall that participate in the collaboration will be partying tonight :)

      You can tell because they have undone an extra button on their lab coats, and are drinking full-sugar coke.

      • by Tim C (15259)

        Reminds me of a joke I heard a few years ago:

        Q. How do you tell if a programmer is an extrovert?

        A. He spends all night staring at your shoes.

  • Any particle physicists care to illuminate us on the reason why the LHC might make mini-blackholes but not "strangelets"? Is it because of the kind of particles used in the collisions? Or are strange flavoured particles currently not in favor these days?

    Not that it makes much practical difference; if we were to be scrunched into a black hole (I know, I know it's not going to happen) or converted into strange matter we're just as dead. (In fact won't the conversion to strange matter happen at the speed of

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)

      Now, I am not a physicist, but wasn't it theorized that black holes "fill up" after a little while, and one couldn't really "grow large enough to shred us?"

      • by bucky0 (229117)

        They would evaporate according to the theory.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          Just to provide a bit more substance, the idea is that, at the event horizon of the black hole, pairs of virtual particles pop into existence, and sometimes, one of them will fall into the black hole while the other will be radiated away, carrying energy away from the black hole, causing it to lose mass. And the smaller the black hole, the faster this happens, so your average microscopic black hole has an exceedingly short lifetime.

          Couple that short lifetime with the fact that, at the scale of these black

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Strangelets are hypothetical, nobody has ever seen, so they might not exist at all. LHC is less likely to produce strangelets than RHIC, but I can't read the paper to see why, but it has something to do with the different nature of the collisions. The energies are too low for production of micro black holes, though.

  • Coincidence (Score:4, Funny)

    by hallucinogen (1263152) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:57AM (#31669156)
    While watching the webcast, just seconds away from the first collisions, the stream went down. I was like w000t! You have no idea how disappointed I was as I realized that it was just my shitty wifi..
  • http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2010/03/30/lhc-research-program-launched-with-7-tev-collisions/ [symmetrymagazine.org] So according to that article, we did the colliding at 7 TeV and their next goal is 14 TeV in 2013, but it's not clear whether that level of 14 is equivilant to the "big bang". Does anyone know what we need to hit in energy levels to reach that?
    • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:11AM (#31669288) Homepage

      Nothing is equivalent to the "big bang". The "big bang" is a singularity. 14TeV isn't even equivalent to some of the natural collisions that happen in the upper atmosphere.

    • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:29AM (#31669500)

      There isn't really a limit. You just get closer and closer to t=0.
      The big bang timeline goes roughly (listing the time when the mentioned period _ends_):

      10^-43 seconds - Planck epoch - this is where we need string theory etc. The universe is expanding really really really fast. Frigging fast. This is called 'inflation'
      10^-36 seconds - Grand unification epoch - this is where gravity starts to become seperate from the other forces
      10^-12 seconds - The really-really-really-frigging-fast inflation is now over. We've now just got the normal expansion.
          --- WE ARE HERE WITH THE LHC ---
      10^-6 seconds - Higgs particles are now able to give particles mass. But too hot for quarks to combine into protons etc.
      1 second - Quarks have now formed into protons etc
      10 seconds - anti-matter is now annihalted somehow. All the protons etc have been created.
      20 minutes - Hydrogen etc is formed. We now have real atoms! (Nucleosynthesis)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        How fast is "really really really fast" in the planck epoch? Would I be right in assuming that prior to 10^-6 seconds there was zero mass in the universe, and therefore everything could travel many times the speed of light?

        Forgive me if it's a dumb question; Physics major, I aren't.
        • anything travelling through space is limited to the speed of light even if it is massless. Space itself can expand at faster than the speed of light though, hence the universe being bigger than 13.75 billion light years in size.
          • Do we know what's past the edge of the universe? I guess I'm asking if C is constant outside of space as well as inside, or if C could be exceeded relative to what is outside of space.

            Or is that a stupid question?
            • by mea37 (1201159)

              Location, and hence words that describe location, like "inside" and "outside", are properties of space. "Outside of space" is not a coherent concept.

              • Why not? If it's expanding, it has an edge. If it began contracting, would everything inside slow down? Would anything reach this "edge of the universe" or does the edge change with every piece of matter which accelerates further from the centre of the universe? In which case, when this last piece of matter is done moving away from the universes centre... Won't we live in a giant black hole?
                • by mea37 (1201159)

                  Why not what? Why isn't it a coherent concept? Because, as I said, location is a property of space. That's what space is, by definition. If you point to some location and say "that's outside of space", then you've defined space incorrectly.

                  You might as well ask whether a rock is an introvert or an extrovert.

                  • Sorry, it must be me... I have trouble with the idea that there is nothing outside of the universe, and yet the universe is expanding. What is it expanding into? Porridge? "Nothing" would be a fine answer, but that brings me back to my question regarding the speed of light, which you have already answered.

                    Or, is "space" and arbitrary concept? The "edge of space" is just the most distant object we can observe?
                    • by mea37 (1201159)

                      I agree, it's a mind-bending idea, largely because it sits entirely outside of human experience.

                      My grounding in cosmology really isn't sufficient to give definite answers to some of your questions. I can say that when they talk about the size and shape of space, they are not talking merely about observable distance; they really mean "this is what the world is shaped like". When faced with the question "what happens at the boundary of space", I strongly suspect most (if not all) count on the fact that we'l

                  • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                    by Odin's Raven (145278)

                    You might as well ask whether a rock is an introvert or an extrovert.

                    Definitely introverts. I've sat and talked to rocks all day long, and they hardly ever say a thing back. Talk about shy. Way different than daisies - those things never stop chattering. Total extroverts. (What's that you say, Mr. Day-Glo Green Squirrel? Another tab of acid? Oh, I really couldn't. Well, okay, if you're sure there's enough for everyone.)

                • by blueg3 (192743)

                  Why not? If it's expanding, it has an edge.

                  Not necessarily; if it's embedded in a higher-dimensional space, it can expand without having an edge.

                  For example, the surface of a balloon expands as you inflate it, but it has no edge.

                • If it's expanding, it has an edge.

                  ... Says who? The Universe can be infinite and still expanding. Or it can be finite, curved back on itself, and still expanding.

                  Let's try two one-dimensional analogues of our three-dimensional space. First, the finite case. Picture a clock face, and a one-dimensional circular Universe on it. The galaxies of this Universe sit at the hour marks. The Universe expands, the circle grows larger, the galaxies find themselves further apart - but there's no edge of the Universe,

            • by vrmlguy (120854)

              Do we know what's past the edge of the universe? I guess I'm asking if C is constant outside of space as well as inside, or if C could be exceeded relative to what is outside of space.

              Or is that a stupid question?

              There appears to be stuff past the edge of the universe:

              It is barely possible that the fundamental constants vary over a scale larger than the visible universe, but I wouldn't bet on it.

      • by IICV (652597)

        If you want to know more about the timeline of the Big Bang, the Starts with a Bang blog has a series of articles on it named "The Greatest Story Ever Told"; it starts here [scienceblogs.com] and continues in these.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tyler Durden (136036)

        Just curious, but what source are you using for this timeline? I've heard the same thing described with small variations between them here and there, and I'm trying to figure out which is believed to be the most accurate of them so far. In the one I remember the most, all of the initial hydrogen and helium nuclei (with tiny amounts of heavier atomic nuclei) were formed within the first three minutes of the initial bang. Things didn't cool off enough for the electrons to join them to form atoms until arou

  • by ruark (1779216) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:19AM (#31669388)
    The title could be a little more precise. This is not technically the first collision at the LHC. http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/11/06/0824213/LHC-Shut-Down-Again-mdash-By-Baguette-Dropping-Bird [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...and no blackhole yet !

    http://mediaarchive.cern.ch/MediaArchive/Photo/Public/2010/1003062/1003062_07/1003062_07-A4-at-144-dpi.jpg :)

  • by Nighttime (231023) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:20AM (#31669396) Homepage Journal

    Hangs up his orange suit and crowbar.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @08:45AM (#31669674) Homepage Journal

    Whoever it was, I hope they're insured.

  • I just blacked out! I had a dream/vision where I saw myself eating a meatloaf sandwitch and chips..oh..sorry..that's a TV show. Or is it?

  • Beams dumped 16.34

    Good while it lasted!
  • Good luck to the physicists at CERN, delays have certainly hurt them, but I hope these collisions make for a solid physics run.

    ---

    The blogosphere has plenty on the LHC as you can see at:
    LHC [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

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