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Big (Bang?) Day Ahead

The day approaches when Cern starts its new experiments in the Large Hadron Collider. Wednesday is nerd day!

As a layman I don't pretend to understand the math behind any of this, but as a science fiction writer I can't help being nerdily fascinated that someone is going to accelerate particles to near lightspeed. The way I understand it, the protons they are slinging through the 27 km accelerator will hit each other with an energy equivalent to an aircraft carrier sailing into a pier at 12 knots.

Several interesting things about this experiment:

1) The experiment takes place in a vacuum that contains fewer particles than outer space, making it one of the emptiest places in the universe.  
2) The tunnel is 1.6 Kelvin, which means it's colder than outer space, which is heated to approximately 2.7 Kelvin by the
cosmic microwave background radiation from Big Bang.  
3)  The energy unleashed in the collisions should be something close to the energy levels at work shortly after the Big Bang.
4) The physicists are hoping to find the elusive
Higgs boson, which is the particle that gives mass to an atom.
5) The experiments may indicate whether there are more than the four dimensions (space and time) we're able to observe now.
There could be as many as 11. So these experiments are quite likely to change the way we see the world.

I for one am hoping the physicists will condense their findings into something that can be understood by layman nerds like me. The sooner the better.



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jakobdrud
jakobdrud

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