Friday, January 9, 2009

Large Hadron Collider

Originally written by myself on 9/22/2008.

I’ve chosen to do this writing assignment on the article “The Origins Of The Universe: A Crash Course” written by Brian Greene and published by The New York Times, appearing in the print edition on September 12, 2008. The article is about the Large Hadron Collider Project taking place in Geneva, Switzerland which is supposed to revolutionize our knowledge of the universe, as scientists try to recreate the conditions that led to the Big Bang.

Work on the Large Hadron Collider began over a decade ago, and it has involved thousands of scientists from many different countries. The cost of the Collider is about 8 billion dollars. The Collider is supposed to work at full power by having trillions of protons racing at each other at opposite speeds faster than the speed of light, producing over a half a billion head on collisions. Scientists hope that when this happens they will be able to produce particles not seen since the Big Bang.

One of the biggest mysteries to scientists right now is the origins of mass. The mass of almost any object or particle can be determined, but where mass itself originates is actually unknown. Peter Higgs an English physicist came up with a potential answer for this question when he suggested that space is pervaded by a field similar to electromagnetic fields that act like invisible molasses. Brian Greene explains in the article that according to Higgs theory, when we push something to try to make it move faster, the Higgs molasses exerts a drag force and it’s that drag force that we call mass. In the 1970’s scientists incorporated this theory into the theory called the standard model of particle physics. Scientists also hope to see sparticles for the 1st time that have evaded detection, but scientists believe exist and can help further understanding of dark matter. The Collider is also hoped to maybe reveal the existence of transdimensional particles which have never been confirmed to exist. The biggest fears of the Collider is that they might be able to produce micro black holes that could possibly lead to the destruction of the planet. But, there exists little evidence that would actually happen. The greatest hope for the Collider is that instead of proving an existing theory, that it will produce something totally unexpected to change our working knowledge of the universe.

I found this article to be very informative because it provided me a lot of knowledge with what the Large Hadron Collider is actually about, and what they are hoping to discover from it. A lot of news media reports I saw on the Large Hadron Collider simply refer to it as a doomsday machine that could lead to the end of the world. The Large Hadron Collider I’ve seen after reading this article is the type of project that can either totally confirm pre-existing theories, or it could be the type of project that completely changes notions and renders all theories existing right now completely obsolete.

No comments:

Post a Comment