Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang' 570

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-do-that-when-i-eat-chinese dept.
buildslave writes "The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a 'mini-Big Bang' by smashing together lead ions instead of protons. The scientists working at the enormous machine on the Franco-Swiss border achieved the unique conditions on 7 November. The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than the center of the Sun."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'

Comments Filter:
  • Science Journalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:37PM (#34162242) Journal

    So, is a mini-big bang just a bang, then?

    I hate this constant need for science journalists to oversell and over-hype an outstanding achievement with misleading hyperbole. They didn't create mini big bangs. They smashed lead ions to try to recreate the conditions that existed shortly after the big bang. It's already an impressive enough achievement without cheapening it with sensationalist BS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Senior Frac (110715)

      I'm not so sure the scientists intended that, but the reporters felt a need to glam the article up to sell copy.

      The issue here is that now we are going to have trouble with a union of the set of anti-science loons and the set of religious fundamentalists. Let us not be satisfied with unnecessarily pissing off just one group, when we can do two!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sonny Yatsen (603655) *

        I thought religious fundamentalists are merely a subset of anti-science loons.

        • by groslyunderpaid (950152) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:53PM (#34162474)

          Not necessarily. I am a religious fundamentalist, and science is all well and good in my book, to a point. And by to a point, I mean "this is what we've been able to prove thus far".
           
          Really though, not trying to troll. Just saying those two groups are not necessarily mutually inclusive, though sometimes that is the case.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Not necessarily. I am a religious fundamentalist, and science is all well and good in my book, to a point. And by to a point, I mean "this is what we've been able to prove thus far".

            Whereas the former seeks the better philosophy of "we've been unable to prove anything so far, but here's a story pulled out of the collective asses of village elders 3000 years ago; let's go on and pretend it's true, and let's ignore all of the horrible acts that have resulted from pretending that fiction is fact."

            Oy.

            • by joeyblades (785896) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:24PM (#34163630)

              So your premise is that religion causes people to commit horrible acts? Is it not just possible that humans commit horrible acts all on their own and some merely use religion to justify their actions?

              Most religious people have never commited a horrible act... I think this alone refutes your premise.

              However, as further contra-evidence, I can think of many seriously horrible acts that were not done in the name of religion... the Holocaust, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Rwanda, 9/11/2001, (in)human medical experimentation through the ages... the list goes on.

              Let's face it. Humans have always and will continue to commit horrible acts and they will try to rationalize some justification for it, be it religion, or politics, or scientific advancement... If you believe that religion causes people to do bad things, then you really don't understand people... or religion.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mangu (126918)

                Is it not just possible that humans commit horrible acts all on their own and some merely use religion to justify their actions?

                Let's see how that works:

                -"Hey, I have a great idea, let's hijack a couple of jet planes with 200 passengers each and crash them into a skyscraper!"
                -"Great idea! But, wait, what excuse shall we use for it?"
                -"Hmmm, I'm not quite sure... How about religion?"
                -"Well, maybe. OK, unless someone gets a better idea, we will justify it through religion"

                No, I think religion is the *prime* motive for a lot of shit people does, not a "mere justification".

                If you believe someone can become a suicide terrorist without rel

                • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#34163970)

                  No, I think religion is the *prime* motive for a lot of shit people does, not a "mere justification".

                  If you believe someone can become a suicide terrorist without religion, then you really don't understand people... or religion.

                  It wouldn't follow, though, to attack the Twin Towers. What sort of religious icon were they? To say that 9/11 was a religious attack, rather than a political one, you'd need to demonstrate how that religion sought to further it's ends through the attack. Has the falling of the towers made Islam stronger, or weaker, or was there no change?

                  Please do explain how this works, because from where I sit it seems entirely political in nature, with a religious wrapping - which is just what the Parent is suggesting.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Belial6 (794905)
                    The rational was that America was evil. A work of the devil, and thus anything American that can be attacked is attacking evil. The higher profile the better. It would be naive to think that there wasn't any politics behind it, but to deny that religion was not a prime influence is absurd.
                  • by chrb (1083577) on Monday November 08, 2010 @04:22PM (#34165444)

                    Please do explain how this works, because from where I sit it seems entirely political in nature, with a religious wrapping - which is just what the Parent is suggesting.

                    You are both right. The majority of people in the world are taught from birth to believe in a God, and that it is right to follow the teachings of the Holy men, including going to war. Some of the Holy men are religious fundamentalists, and they will demand war against those who follow a different religion. They will justify the war with reference to the Holy scriptures, and this will provide a self-reinforcing story that the people will follow (self-reinforcing because, as a result of the violence. they can refer to new acts of savagery that their opponent has carried out). However, the religious leaders are also rational, and will not usually carry out actions that will weaken their own power base or result in their own destruction. For example, the Iranian religious leaders will not directly attack the U.S. or Israel, as this would ensure their destruction. The violence is geo-political in nature, but in order to justify and motivate the population it is necessary to create a religious narrative that they can follow.

                    It wouldn't follow, though, to attack the Twin Towers. What sort of religious icon were they?

                    The goals of the leadership of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are geo-political: resistance against the House of Saud and it's U.S. backed dictatorship being the most obvious. There is a great amount of social injustice in Saudi Arabia, resulting from a huge inequality in the distribution of wealth - millions of ordinary people live in abject poverty, whilst a few thousand people in the royal family control trillions of dollars in personal wealth. This leads to a society in which corruption is the norm, and where the wealthy can literally "get away with murder". It is not difficult to see why ordinary people might want to replace the existing system with something that seems a little fairer. The Islamists offer them a future governance based on what they perceive to be a better system, where the rules are supposed to be applied equally regardless of wealth or position in society. Throw into this the fact that the U.S. is a major ally of the House of Saud, supplies a huge amount of military and intelligence hardware, and at one point had 10,000 troops stationed there, and it is not difficult to see how the resentment shifts from the House of Saud and onto the U.S.

                    The average citizen of these countries is poorly educated, and often illiterate. Justifying and motivating them towards acts of violence through geo-politics is hard - how do you convince a man to commit suicide, or otherwise take enormous personal risks, in order to destabilise the governing regime? A rational man will usually believe that his own death is not justified except in exceptional circumstances, and overthrowing his government is not usually one of those. The concept of "life after death with big rewards" is essential to the narrative that enables self-sacrifice towards the attainment of geo-political goals.

                    So, people attack targets like the Twin Towers because they observe massive social injustice in their home land. Their religious leaders tell them that this injustice is the fault of people outside of their social group, and that God wants them to make the world a better place, and that when they die they will receive the reward of an eternal life. They are personally motivated by religion, and by a sense that the world that they are fighting against is unjust. However, the Twin Towers is chosen as a target because it is a symbol of the injustice; this is not about "glorifying" a religion, it is about striking back against an "evil empire" that is seen as being intimately linked with the social problems of the population as a whole.

                • You are confused. The members of Al-Qaeda are motivated by their devotion to Osama Bin Laden, not to Islam. In fact, their actions are in direct contradiction to Islamic beliefs.

                  If you believe someone can become a suicide terrorist without religion...

                  One man's terrorist is another man's war hero. More people commit "suicide" for political beliefs than do for religious ones. Duty is a powerful motivator.

                  People are predominantly motivated by greed and power. Making something a religious cause is, more often than not, just a way to get buy-in from the masses... an afterthought

                • If you believe someone can become a suicide terrorist without religion, then you really don't understand people... or religion.

                  I'm not religious myself, but I can see some scenarios where I might be willing to sacrifice myself for totally non-religious reasons. Here's one... My city is attacked by a hoard of ravenous zombies. By drawing them out into an uninhabited region with a plate full of brains and detonating a nuclear device, killing myself in the process, I can save my people from the zombie hoard,

            • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday November 08, 2010 @03:42PM (#34164786) Journal

              we've been unable to prove anything so far, but here's a story pulled out of the collective asses of village elders 3000 years ago...

              Actually, if you replace "village elders" with "theorists" and 3,000 years with "several" this is almost exactly like science: we come up with a theory which we have not yet proved and then act on it as if it were true to see what the implications are and then test those implications. The slight, but very important, difference being that if someone manages to prove the "story" wrong we'll listen to them, give them a nobel prize and rewrite the story whereas religion has a bad track record of burning them at the stake (although even science's record is not blemish free [wikipedia.org]).

          • by Zeek40 (1017978) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:32PM (#34162976)
            Just out of curiosity, at what point do you draw the line? Because I only know one person who describes herself as a 'christian fundamentalist' and she refuses to believe any science that proves that the earth is more than ~6000 years old. When I explained to her that simply refusing that fact throws out almost our entire understanding of the universe around us, from the distance of the stars to why the atom's we're composed of don't just fall apart, her response was akin to sticking one's fingers in their ears and screaming "i can't hear you" over and over again.

            She didn't think that she was anti-science, she just thought that she could cherry pick facts from the bible and set up special cases in which the physical laws of nature no longer apply.

          • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:43PM (#34163090) Journal

            The majority of fundamentalists are accepting of science until they feel it contradicts their scripture and/or beliefs. Religious fundamentalism is inherently incompatible with science in the same sense that one could not simultaneously be a both a humanist and a racist. There's no reason though why a racist couldn't be an absolute angel to white people, or why someone with fervent religious beliefs can't excel in a field of science that can be reconciled with their beliefs. Depends on the amount of proof required. Creationists are well known for demanding unrealistic levels of proof for evolution or big bang cosmology. In their case it's comparable to finding a corpse with a back full of bullets and refusing to accept that it's likely a case of murder - since no-one was there to witness it.

        • I'm sure it's true the two sets are not mutually exclusive. It would be amazing if it were.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:37PM (#34163030)

          I believe you have that reversed. I've met plenty of religious fundamentalists who weren't anti-science loons... Can't say I've met / heard of any anti-science loons who are not religious fundamentalists.

        • by ArcherB (796902) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:41PM (#34163918) Journal

          I thought religious fundamentalists are merely a subset of anti-science loons.

          You do realize that the one who originally theorized the Big Bang was a Catholic Priest [wikipedia.org], right?

          You could even call him the "Father" of the Big Bang.

      • by X0563511 (793323) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:00PM (#34162556) Homepage Journal

        Frankly I don't give a shit who gets pissed off. The objective is scientific understanding, not pissing people off or not.

        • by daid303 (843777) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:49PM (#34163156)

          Frankly I don't give a shit who gets pissed off. The objective is scientific understanding, not pissing people off or not.

          It's just a very nice side-effect.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:01PM (#34162574) Homepage

      Your mission [dilbert.com], if you choose to accept it. You are dealing with people that mostly wouldn't remember what an "ion" is. When you say "smashing iron", they think of banging two iron bars together. And how exactly is iron atoms related to the creation of the universe, really? Answer: It isn't, but they will have skipped to some other headline long before you got to explain it to them.

      Do you think think this is related to science journalism in particular? There's so many wildly misleading titles all over the places. Like right now in the sports section is one "The coach didn't like their celebration" as if there was a conflict between the coach and the team. If you read the article he just think there's too many flashy gimmicks, spraying of champagne etc. and it's just not his style. Everything is fluff like that there days.

    • by querist (97166) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:25PM (#34162868) Homepage
      But it wasn't that great, apparently. Eccentrica Gallumbits said that Zaphod Beeblebrox was "the best bang since the big one."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blair1q (305137)

      They created a small version of the conditions that obtained in the event known to nearly everyone as "The Big Bang".

      It's not merely a bang. It's a set of physical phenomena that heretofore have not been seen except at the inception of this universe.

      The headline is just about as accurate as it can be, and isn't hyperbolic in the slightest.

      • by SETIGuy (33768) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:24PM (#34163628) Homepage

        It's not merely a bang. It's a set of physical phenomena that heretofore have not been seen except at the inception of this universe.

        Except, of course, that your statement is not true. Collisions of similar or much higher magnitude happen quite frequently, even here on earth (or at least in the atmosphere). This would be better described as a recreation of a high energy cosmic ray collision rather than as a mini big bang.

        The headline is just about as accurate as it can be, and isn't hyperbolic in the slightest.

        Except that it's total hyperbole.

    • So, is a mini-big bang just a bang, then?

      I hate this constant need for science journalists to oversell and over-hype an outstanding achievement with misleading hyperbole. They didn't create mini big bangs. They smashed lead ions to try to recreate the conditions that existed shortly after the big bang. It's already an impressive enough achievement without cheapening it with sensationalist BS.

      Absolutely right no need to over hype it and create big headlines. Just give them credit for the bang-up job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ultranova (717540)

      They didn't create mini big bangs. They smashed lead ions to try to recreate the conditions that existed shortly after the big bang.

      I'm not so sure that there is a difference. From what I've understood, the "Big Bang" really refers to the period of inflation due to Higgs field being stuck on a supercooled state, and these conditions could potentially be re-created by rising energy density high enough to re-create the correct symmetries and then letting it fall very fast again.

      Dunno what the word "mini" is

  • BAZINGA!
  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:37PM (#34162252) Journal

    Wouldn't a mini big bang just be a moderate bang?

  • by durrr (1316311) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:37PM (#34162264)
    Now show us a real big-bang so the creationists are silenced
    • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by imamac (1083405) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:39PM (#34162286)
      Last I checked they weren't mutually exclusive.
      • Depends on your definition. You're probably thinking "Creationism as in God created it" which is general enough that they aren't mutually exclusive.

        Other people say that Creationism is more about using the Genesis section of the Bible to explain how life came to be as opposed to other biological answers like evolution.

        I assume the parent wants to disprove the later.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Depends on your definition. You're probably thinking "Creationism as in God created it" which is general enough that they aren't mutually exclusive.

          Other people say that Creationism is more about using the Genesis section of the Bible to explain how life came to be as opposed to other biological answers like evolution.

          I assume the parent wants to disprove the later.

          Creationism and Evolution are not mutually exclusive either.

      • Re:Next step... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nebaz (453974) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:47PM (#34162392)

        I think if they created a real big bang we may all be silenced.

      • by durrr (1316311)
        Oh they certainly are, if you think otherwise you need the parent post again.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rob Kaper (5960)

        Last I checked most scientists in the field no longer even accept the big bang as likely. They consider it the same "something from nothing" unanswer as religions offer, looking for a cyclic model [wikipedia.org] instead. :D

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by afabbro (33948)

          Last I checked most scientists in the field no longer even accept the big bang as likely. They consider it the same "something from nothing" unanswer as religions offer, looking for a cyclic model [wikipedia.org] instead. :D

          ...which, of course, is still something from nothing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now show us a real big-bang so the creationists are silenced

      Yes, humans creating a real big bang will definitely silence those who believe in Intelligent Design. Brilliant!

    • by bittles (1619071) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:52PM (#34162460) Homepage
      to understand recursion you must understand recursion
      • by immakiku (777365)

        To be fair, most recursive algorithms have a base case. So:

        To understand recursion you must first understand recursion, unless you already understand recursion.

  • So some scientists did some banging at the large hardon collider over the weekend and said it was really hott.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:39PM (#34162284) Journal
    Now, if we can just wait a few billion years, a suitably intelligent species should evolve inside the newly created universe and build a Very Very Very Small Hadron Collider(VVVSHC) in order to investigate the conditions of their early universe....
  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:43PM (#34162338) Homepage Journal
    The window in which you can make stupid comments about playing god and recursing (no tired xkcd links allowed, about either pebbles or carving dice) is now closing. Please get in your cheesy gloom-and-doom scenarios ASAP, and make wild, uneducated suppositions about micro black holes while you're at it.
  • by demonbug (309515) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:46PM (#34162380) Journal

    Who the fuck is ALICE?

    One of the accelerator's experiments, ALICE, has been specifically designed to smash together lead ions...

    Well, I guess that answers that.

  • So if its a million times hotter than the sun, does that get to the necessary temp/pressure for controlled Fusion?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tempest69 (572798)
      Yup, it does, but we can do fusion. If we just cared about fusing atoms together, that was doable by ZETA (primitive tokamak) in the 1950's. But making a reactor that can generate net energy gain is a trick.
    • Re:Fusion? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rich0 (548339) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:01PM (#34162568) Homepage

      Oh, that is FAR above the temperatures needed for controlled fusion.

      We don't have any trouble creating the necessary temperature for controlled fusion. The part we aren't able to do is the "controlled" bit - in a way that allows a net positive energy return.

      I'm guessing this collision released maybe a few kcal of energy (which is HUGE for two atom-sized masses, but otherwise on-par with a candle), but it probably consumed the resources from half of a power plant in the process.

      The LHC isn't about energy generation - it is about generating huge concentrations of energy in an extremely small volume of space.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shillo (64681)

        It's actually 0.1mJ (or 1138TeV) per collision (half that per ion). They have ways to go before hitting 1 cal. However, within the volume of a nucleus, that's still a crazy concentration of energy.

        Also, a beam has a *lot* of ions (they're starting with 2e10/beam but I believe their goal is 100x that before the end of the month). That's 10MJ/beam before the end of the month, which is already a fairly serious amount of energy to have in a particle beam.

  • Am I dead?

    Is time stretching out as we all are hurtling towards the centre of singularity?

  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:54PM (#34162496)
    The title is misleading. The LHC did not create a mini 'big bang' but created a miniature of the conditions that might have existed shortly AFTER the big bang. The 'big bang [wikipedia.org]' was the event that created all mass, space, and time in the entire universe in a single instant approximately 13.7 billion years ago. The LHC collision of lead ions did not create any mass, space, or time but did create a "hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma" that might have existed after the 'big bang' event.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DShard (159067)

      [blockquote]The 'big bang [wikipedia.org]' was the event that created all mass, space, and time in the entire universe in a single instant approximately 13.7 billion years ago.[/blockquote]

      The big bang doesn't talk about the creation event. It discusses the expansion following soon after that event, and only somewhat reliably at the planck epoch. The big bang did not create matter, energy or time either. These were all firmly in place by during the period this theory takes place. While their may be theo

      • by dtjohnson (102237) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:34PM (#34162992)

        The big bang doesn't talk about the creation event. It discusses the expansion following soon after that event...

        The 'big bang' theory is that the universe began as the appearance of a 'singularity' approximately 13.7 billion years ago that then rapidly expanded into the universe that we see today. According to the theory, neither 'mass' nor 'space' nor 'time' existed prior to the singularity.

        Steven W. Hawking, Roger Penrose, "The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 314 (1970) pp. 529-548.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by John Hasler (414242)

          According to the theory, neither 'mass' nor 'space' nor 'time' existed prior to the singularity.

          And therefor the phrase "prior to the singularity" is devoid of meaning.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BeardedChimp (1416531)

      The LHC collision of lead ions did not create any mass, space, or time but did create a "hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma" that might have existed after the 'big bang' event.

      You can be damn sure it did create a whole lot of mass. When you reach even a tiny fraction of the energy involved here you start creating exotic particles left right and centre. The quarks in the soup will not be limited to up and down quarks found in lead ions, much heavier quarks will have been created though they can be very short lived.

  • Pah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cloud K (125581) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:59PM (#34162536)

    The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun

    NVidia achieved that years ago.

  • This is all fine, until Oracle buys the LHC and offers an Enterprise Level "Bang" and a free-bang.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

Working...