Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Large Hadron Collider - A Simple Explanation

Hello again! I haven't been here in months, but I finally found something that I had to share and this blog is the best place for it.

You probably have heard about the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Last summer there were wild news stories about the fear of the LHC creating homegrown black holes and devouring the Earth. YouTube users uploaded computer animation of the Earth getting sucked inside-out like a deflating balloon. The LHC black-hole fears were even mentioned on MTV's "The Hills".

Friends asked me how the LHC worked and why were billions of dollars being spent to race charged particles around in circles. I have tried to explain the concepts, but I was still fuzzy on certain details and how to articulate them. Sure, they race energized particles around and smash them together...but where did they get the particles in the first place?

This video on YouTube is the simplest explanation I have seen so far about the workings and goals of the LHC. I find it remarkable that the whole process starts with a simple container of hydrogen gas.

For more pictures of the LHC complex and hardware, check out this story on Dvice.com