It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by schlump » Wed Sep 10, 2008 08:42

ooh. i am listening live on crackly radio four, with andrew marr. champagne corks are being popped, i think because they've managed to shoot the, uh, hadrons, a few km into the, uhhh, collider tunnel. i am on a train, and am looking over the countryside: the world is still intact, and the sky is maintaining its height.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by humblebee » Wed Sep 10, 2008 08:50

I watched some on TV and listened to some on the radio. I have to say it's an event better suited to radio.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by schlump » Wed Sep 10, 2008 09:32

i wrote a pretty good post, but it disappeared. it toasted the rolling out of bbc flagship marr, and probed deeply into the last minute 'workaround' they'd found to combat the electrical hitch. it also speculated on the bbc front page image, and how it looked like one of those string-section-scored moments of robotic whirrings and core illumination where mechanical arms inch together in sci fi films under the hush of a stern, cold female computer countdown, crescendo-ing in the unification of constituent parts and the glowing, blinding light the finished unit emits.

today: seeing if they can get one beam to do the whole loop, starting on the second if so.

is all the monitoring and interpretation of data done with visual information?

edit: PROGRESS: 0924am (BST) Report from the LHC central control room
Beam has completed journey around tunnel.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by Big Nose » Wed Sep 10, 2008 09:44

I'd so love to let off a giant firecracker in that control room right now.

The BBCs reporting this morning was funny, they seemed bitterly disappointed that like, nothing happened. I don't know if they were expecting a giant boom, or fireworks or something. I suggest that these LHC boffins employ a Hollywood (or even better, Bollywood) special effects type person to jazz up future science so as not to disappoint the media.
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by gloom button » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:01

Is it embarrassing to admit I had no idea what the Higgs field was before this? Well, I didn't. I wonder if anyone's written about the philosophical implications of it, well, existing, everywhere? I feel like it's a bit sci-fi to ask it like it (sorry).
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by humblebee » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:11

gloom button wrote:Is it embarrassing to admit I had no idea what the Higgs field was before this? Well, I didn't.
Don't worry – I still don't get it now.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by frogblast » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:38

Image

i like what google did with their logo
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by soft revolution » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:43

gloom button wrote:Is it embarrassing to admit I had no idea what the Higgs field was before this? Well, I didn't. I wonder if anyone's written about the philosophical implications of it, well, existing, everywhere? I feel like it's a bit sci-fi to ask it like it (sorry).
It's really hard to visualise in any meaningful way isn't it. You can't observe it but particles interact with it. It's like the extra 7 dimensions in string theory or a second time dimension. Mathematically it may all work out, but, what? Eh.
And by me, I mean, Flexo.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by soft revolution » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:32

Like all good science, it has a twitter feed - http://twitter.com/cern" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And by me, I mean, Flexo.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by gloom button » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:45

humblebee wrote:
gloom button wrote:Is it embarrassing to admit I had no idea what the Higgs field was before this? Well, I didn't.
Don't worry – I still don't get it now.
Heh. Well, (and obviously this is as lay as lay understanding can be), a Higgs field would permeate all space, vacuums and what have you, and all particles interact with the field to varying degrees. And how much they interact with it determines their mass, so the more they interact with it, the more mass the particle has. (I think.)

But the weirdness of it (to me) is that this field would just exist everywhere, and like dunc says, everything interacts with it but it's not observable. I mean, I suppose maybe it's not any weirder than things not being able to move faster than the speed of light or any of thousands of things, but it just seems especially weird this morning and I don't even have a hangover.

I mean, all that if it does actually exist. I suppose these are really all just interpretations of the mathematical models.
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by gloom button » Wed Sep 10, 2008 14:03

Gosh, the BBC's blog is surprisingly tense just now!
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by gofelt » Wed Sep 10, 2008 15:48

gloom button wrote: Heh. Well, (and obviously this is as lay as lay understanding can be), a Higgs field would permeate all space, vacuums and what have you, and all particles interact with the field to varying degrees. And how much they interact with it determines their mass, so the more they interact with it, the more mass the particle has. (I think.)

But the weirdness of it (to me) is that this field would just exist everywhere, and like dunc says, everything interacts with it but it's not observable. I mean, I suppose maybe it's not any weirder than things not being able to move faster than the speed of light or any of thousands of things, but it just seems especially weird this morning and I don't even have a hangover.

I mean, all that if it does actually exist. I suppose these are really all just interpretations of the mathematical models.
Spot on! Wow, David this is one of the best and most precise explanations of the Higgs field I’ve ever read!

Here’s another layperson’s explanation particle physicists have found, from a contest held in Britain, which places the Higgs field in a more "information-type" context:

Imagine a cocktail party of political party workers who are uniformly distributed across the floor, all talking to their nearest neighbours. The ex-Prime Minister enters and crosses the room. All of the workers in her neighbourhood are strongly attracted to her and cluster round her. As she moves she attracts the people she comes close to, while the ones she has left return to their even spacing. Because of the knot of people always clustered around her she acquires a greater mass than normal, that is she has more momentum for the same speed of movement across the room. Once moving she is hard to stop, and once stopped she is harder to get moving again because the clustering process has to be restarted.

In three dimensions, and with the complications of relativity, this is the Higgs mechanism. In order to give particles mass, a background field is invented which becomes locally distorted whenever a particle moves through it. The distortion - the clustering of the field around the particle - generates the particle's mass.


The mass existence, at elementary particle level, seen as a distortion/clustering of a field..that’s truly amazing (I think i find it pretty amazing because I am such an idiot and i lack basic knowledge of particle physics - I guess this must have been established by scientists ages ago).

Just received the monthly newsletter from Berkley national laboratory and the first thing they mention is the celebratory atmosphere in US universities and laboratories and across the world for the LHC’s first cilculating beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light!
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by schlump » Wed Sep 10, 2008 17:11

ha!, i was just about to go digging around the guardian site to look for that explanation; i think i maybe preferred the other one, because treacle seems an apposite analogy for something that changess everything that passes through it. did you strategically change it to ex-pm?, or is it from somewhere else?

i am not from a science background, and so am very much a bandwagon jumper in getting excited about this with two weeks to go, rather than for twenty years of sticklebricking components together, BUT, science being the lead item on the news: brilliant.

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by imaginarystates » Wed Sep 10, 2008 18:24

This will provide the answer to the ever-so-important question:

http://www.hasthelargehadroncolliderdes ... ldyet.com/
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by Modern Antiquarian » Wed Sep 10, 2008 18:33

I still want to know when they start the colliding...

And I'm sure the proper physicists have a better explanation, but I still don't see the likelyhood of a model where all unknowns = x. Surely its more feasible to say all unknowns may equal a, b,c,d e,f, or g etc, or maybe load of symbols we've not thought up yet...
Though I suppose you have to try to rule out the obvious all unknowns = x first.
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by Big Nose » Wed Sep 10, 2008 18:38

imaginarystates wrote:This will provide the answer to the ever-so-important question:

http://www.hasthelargehadroncolliderdes ... ldyet.com/
I like the source code of this page.
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by humblebee » Wed Sep 10, 2008 22:07

Big Nose wrote:I like the source code of this page.
Heh!
<!-- if the lhc actually destroys the earth & this page isn't yet updated
please email mike@frantic.org to receive a full refund -->

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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by imaginarystates » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:53

I've just noticed that...brilliant!
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by SophieC » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:45

i love this:
Yesterday, the scientists' ambitions were more modest. Before the machine can be put to work, its makers had to take it for a test drive.

The goal was to send beams of protons around the collider's hollow ring in both directions, to make sure there were no obstructions and to check that powerful superconducting magnets surrounding the ring can steer the beams with exquisite precision. When Cern attempted this on an older, less powerful collider in 1996, it found two beer bottles stuck inside the ring.
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Re: It's the Large Hadron Collider Thread, yo!

Post by aorta » Thu Sep 11, 2008 16:41

So nothing is colliding until October 21st? They should wait until Halloween.

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