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CERN, LHC Sets New Luminosity World Record

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the celebrate-by-destroying-a-universe dept.

Science 71

An anonymous reader writes "Since last night, the Large Hadron Collider is officially the most powerful accelerator in the world. While a record energy level had been reached last year, the new luminosity level, surpassing Fermilab's capabilities, is a new achievement. 'Higher intensity means more data, and more data means greater discovery potential,' as CERN Director General Rolf Heuer says."

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71 comments

first to comment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905966)

haha

In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905968)

Back to the future!

Re:In other words (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907010)

Maybe these guys can figure out how to bombard nuclear waste and turn it into something useful (and hopefully safe?) to put in iPads or electric cars?

Nuclear flux capacitors is where it's at baby!

Re:In other words (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907042)

Maybe these guys can figure out how to bombard nuclear waste and turn it into something useful (and hopefully safe?)

We already know how to do this. The anti-nuke hysterics in most countries have been fighting against implementation of the idea for 40 years.

It's called a Breeder Reactor, by the by.

Re:In other words (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907656)

There is no such thing as nuclear waste, everything that comes out of a used fuel rod is extremely useful, rare and precious and very expensive.

Re:In other words (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908944)

There is no such thing as nuclear waste, everything that comes out of a used fuel rod is extremely useful, rare and precious and very expensive.

If it is really so useful in practice, why is so much in "temporary" storage after years and years with the amounts stored growing ever larger? Why have the U.S., Japan and many other countries "re-racked" their fuel ponds to make room for more at spacing closer than what the original designs required for safety?

As of November 2010, Fukushima Daiichi had 1760 TONS of spent fuel in storage, using 84% of capacity. (That's taking re-racking into account)

The linked .pdf report gives some idea what a big deal it is to deal with the fuel stored in Japan.

http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf [nirs.org]

Yes, they're done some recycling too. It wasn't many years ago that they had a criticality accident at such a facility. Even after bone marrow transplantation and experiment stem cell therapy, they still had workers die. And a number of non-employees living nearby got above normal exposure.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Tokaimura_nuclear_accident [wikimedia.org]

And when I said waste, I didn't just mean spent fuel. There are other contaminated materials to deal with. Flying insects that got into things left behind from the old Hanford Washington facility were so radioactive that 210 TONS of material later contaminated by the bugs at a regular landfill had to be hauled off as radioactive waste.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/10/22/tec_242588.shtml [augusta.com]

Radiation is still turning up from things that happened 40 years ago. Beware if cooking rabbit stew....

http://www.king5.com/news/environment/Radioactive-rabbit-trapped-at-Hanford-106761238.html [king5.com]

If there's technology to make ALL of that waste safe and useful, I haven't heard about it. Breeder reactors do turn some into more fuel (or weapons). While that may be a significant source for fuel, I haven't seen any citations showing a percentage and/or tonnage of total radioactive waste that actually gets recycled in that way. Citations please.

Re:In other words (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35912452)

Re:In other words (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35916014)

Hmmmm, so some of that valuable waste can be recycled into kitchen countertops.... sounds like more WSJ junk science to me. The author of a recent WSJ piece that was story here (possibly the same guy?) was on the BBC explaining that boric acid was used to clean debris from the water jets used for cooling in reactors. Wrong. Boron and boron compounds are used because they absorb neutrons which helps to stop fission in a quantity of nuclear material that would otherwise go critical (resulting in much more heat and radiation than that see from decay).

Recycling is a good way to come up with additional fuel, but even the French (the word leaders in the field) only recycle about 1% of their fuel rods. (that figure was reported March 18th 2011 on German Deutch Welle television) And even then, there is still considerable amount of highly dangerous material left afterwards to store. Even recycling involved expensive and energy intensive enhancement. The French are doing a great deal of research, but even for them, the breeder reactors which would more efficiently convert spent material into useful fuel are not yet commercially viable. (I have not seen any news reports saying one way or the other if the earthquake led to any issues at Japans' experimental breeder reactor which is in one of the hard-hit prefects)

Unit 4 at the troubled plant in Japan had an explosion blowing the concrete from the upper walls and roof, exposing the fire in the fuel pond to the environment. There is considerable concern now that the weight of added cooling water in the pond may be too much for the damaged building to support. With far more fuel in the pond than a reactor normally holds there is danger that fuel piling up on the bottom from damaged rods could reach criticality, greatly increasing the release of dangerous materials and complicating an already difficult clean up. All that from a unit that didn't even have fuel in the reactor.

Unit 3 contains MOX (mixed oxide) fuel apparently provided by the French. If I understand correctly, with the plutonium component it is more neutron sensitive (releases more neutrons when hit by a given number). That makes it a little harder to control. Some older reactors can only use a smaller portion of the MOX type, or need additional control rods added. It may also be harder to prevent criticality in fuel that piles up from damaged rods. With the very long half-life of plutonium it's also a very nasty thing to have in the environment. Recent NHK reports indicated testing was being done to measure levels, but no word of the results.

I think it is more than a bit twisted to be describing spent fuel as valuable when there is so much that it is a great liability for nearly all. But PR folks would rather talk about the stored material as a vaulted treasure instead of the nuclear graveyard many see it as.

Union of Concerned Scientists report on 14 nuclear near-missing in the U.S. (PDF, includes Diablo Canyon back up water system being non functional for 18 months, doesn't mention the recent defective motor with rotor slipping on shaft that also affected another plant)

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nrc-2010-full-report.pdf [ucsusa.org]

PDF NRC report of failed motor at Diablo Canyon (I believe this moves a valve)

http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1105/ML110590892.pdf [nrc.gov]

The report does not say if the motor slippage could have been triggered by excessive stress from it still running at the end of travel due to improper calibration of limit switches or some other control system malfunction (Stuxnet etc). The report only treats it as a manufacturing defect. There are a number of the motors at other plants and one other has previous been observed with the same failure. If it is something that is only needed in an emergency, some may not encounter a defect beforehand and have a backup system that doesn't work.

These scientists.... (4, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905970)

puts on sunglasses

Seem very bright.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905984)

The future is bright, you must wear shades.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906132)

The future is bright, you must wear shades.

Ah, that would explain the omnipresent lens flare in the future. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_(film) [wikipedia.org]

Re:These scientists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906708)

I'll bet these scientists wear sunglasses at night.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908770)

I'll bet these scientists wear sunglasses at night.

Interesting enough the lead scientist was wearing a monitoring device over his left eye. When the power level was surpassed he announced the achievement to the entire world. Video here [youtube.com] ...

Re:These scientists.... (1, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906062)

Seem very bright.

OOI as someone who has no connection with the LHC and doesn't even know much physics beyond a few modules as part of a mathematics degree, are the scientists working with it particularly bright? My understanding has been that, so far, it's a very high maintenance (albeit necessary) way of checking various existing theories in the mound of increasingly untested theoretical physics. IOW, it's more of an engineering feat than a scientific one. Or are unexpected observations being made leading to new physics?

Re:These scientists.... (3, Interesting)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906180)

My understanding has been that, so far, it's a very high maintenance (albeit necessary) way of checking various existing theories in the mound of increasingly untested theoretical physics. IOW, it's more of an engineering feat than a scientific one. Or are unexpected observations being made leading to new physics?

Um. How are they supposed to be able to tell ahead of time when unexpected things [google.com] will happen?

Re:These scientists.... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906638)

I wondered whether they're being made, not whether they're hoping/expecting to make them. Although certain exercises are more likely to lead to new discoveries than others, and there's a difference between exploring new ideas as you develop theories and merely verifying an existing body of work.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907734)

Perhaps they will be able to create a new element that can more safely power the Iron Man suit?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1228705/ [imdb.com]

Re:These scientists.... (2)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906650)

are the scientists working with it particularly bright?

I don't think CERN scientists have a higher ratio of photon radiance in the visible spectrum (or even outside it) than scientists in other institutions.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

zpiro (525660) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906832)

are the scientists working with it particularly bright?

I don't think CERN scientists have a higher ratio of photon radiance in the visible spectrum (or even outside it) than scientists in other institutions.

I can tell from your data that you didn't actually collide that question at CERN.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

nelk (923574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908610)

are the scientists working with it particularly bright?

I don't think CERN scientists have a higher ratio of photon radiance in the visible spectrum (or even outside it) than scientists in other institutions.

But we won't know for sure until we load them up, smash them together and see what comes out.

New State of Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906962)

Or are unexpected observations being made leading to new physics?

You mean like jet quenching [web.cern.ch] which is a signature for a new state of matter called quark-gluon plasma where protons and neutrons "melt"?

However you are labouring under the false assumption that only signatures not predicted by theorists are indications of new physics. New physics requires both experimental evidence AND a theoretical model sometimes the model comes first, sometimes the data. Finding data which confirms a new theory would be just as unexpected as finding data which did not agree with any theoretical model.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

myrikhan (1136505) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907634)

Finding all of the existing physics is important as it helps calibrate the instrument and gives confidence it is working as expected.

I've been spending some time on arXiv looking at LHC related papers. So far they are saying, "No new physics beyond the standard model has been detected." WRT the Higgs, it hasn't been detected yet either. Tighter constraints have been put on it's mass - Due to the combined efforts of the Tevatron, LHC , LEP2 and DZERO. It's very early though. Experts in the field say we should wait until 2013-14. Scientists need the time to collect and analyze more data.

'A Quantum Diaries Survivor' is a blog by a physicist working at the LHC. His posts use real, recent data from the various experiments listed above. An entry posted today (22 April, 2011) is particularly relevant:

http://www.science20.com/quantum_diaries_survivor/did_atlas_just_see_higgs-78316 [science20.com]

Re:These scientists.... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909236)

> WRT the Higgs, it hasn't been detected yet either.

As I understand it, ruling out the Higgs would be new physics.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909184)

Well, since there is no way to predict if a new mathematics PhD will ever generate any important new mathematics, why are we supporting anyone to get a PhD in mathematics? Most math PhDs just use what has already been proven, so they are only checking existing proofs anyway. What use would new proofs be even if they are created?

All I'm doing is applying your argument about physics to your domain, mathematics. I'm confident that you will now question math PhD programs, because application of your argument is logically based. Happy now?

Re:These scientists.... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35910012)

You're reading more into my post than was written.

Anyway, comparing the investment in mathematics PhDs with one of the most expensive pieces of scientific experimentation kit ever built is just silly. No group of mathematicians(*) in a particular field has ever demanded a budget of $9 billion.

(*) We do not include economists, even though they have an at least passing notion of numbers and freshman algebra and calculus. If we did, I'd concede the argument immediately, as economology is the biggest exploiter of time and waster of money on this planet.

Re:These scientists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35910948)

You are right, we should all become Wiccans and Live At One With Nature.

To do anything else is a brutish male-domination fantasy, and a scandalous waste of money.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909682)

Seem very bright.

OOI as someone who has no connection with the LHC and doesn't even know much physics beyond a few modules as part of a mathematics degree, are the scientists working with it particularly bright? My understanding has been that, so far, it's a very high maintenance (albeit necessary) way of checking various existing theories in the mound of increasingly untested theoretical physics. IOW, it's more of an engineering feat than a scientific one. Or are unexpected observations being made leading to new physics?

Where would Theoretical Physics and Pure Mathematics be without Engineering? You know, Applied Physics and Mathematics that tests whether theories are all BS.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906094)

I for one welcome our luminous rotating light-speed overlords.

5th dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906108)

Find and replace "discovery" for "disaster"

Re:These scientists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906258)

In the end, the answer was always in front of them. They will probably die not knowing.

Re:These scientists.... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906700)

What I want to know is this: when will this technology be used to make HID headlamps even brighter? 5,000 lumens from 55W isn't enough! :-)

Bright enough (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907016)

Seem very bright.

Bright enough to know that the LHC has been the most powerful accelerator for a while. Power is energy per unit time, with a beam energy >3.5 times that of the Tevatron we need less that a third of the luminosity to beat the Tevatron in terms of power. This press release was about breaking the luminosity record i.e. the number of protons per area per second which is not the same as power.

Re:These scientists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907702)

yyyyeeeaaahhh!!!!

HOW RIGHT YOU ARE MY BRIGHT LITTLE STAR !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905974)

Miles upon miles, ... or forefathers' fruit

Re:HOW RIGHT YOU ARE MY BRIGHT LITTLE STAR !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906436)

i don't think slashdot is the best place for moody blues jokes, alas

The broad side of a pico-barn (1)

stox (131684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905976)

Nailed! Higgs, here we come!

Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906000)

Does this mean the world is going to end in a white hole instead of a black one?

Re:Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907168)

Share the seeds of knowledge and it'll all make sense in the end...

And a bigger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906042)

physics penis! Always the compensation instead of cooperating.

Meh (0)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906082)

Call me when all this actually serves some purpose...

So far all I have seen from LHC is a boatload of data noise and computers crunching thru it all in the hopes of making sense of... randomness...

Don't need LHC to create random bytes...

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906114)

I for one, welcome our new black hole overlords.

So much power, such a small diameter. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906128)

Insert marshmallow.

Yay. (-1, Offtopic)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906148)

The PR departments must love these releases. The collider is designed to do all this stuff, but they get to release it as an achievement. Yay!

The next release will be... LHC HAS SPLIT THE ATOM! Yes, gentle folk, the LHC, with it's unprecedented power, has split atoms into their component parts! Who would have thought this day would come? Soon, possibly even later today, the LHC will be able to track the paths of those sub-atomic particles and gain information about what they are!

Let's hear it for Science!

Re:Yay. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906168)

They're not just slamming rocks together here. They're doing science, ok? So back off.

We're done here.

Re:Yay. (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906494)

I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

Re:Yay. (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906786)

Already done, it was called the Ford Pinto

Re:Yay. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907678)

Bravo, sir.

Re:Yay. (2)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907128)

So was the Bell X-1 designed to through the sound barrier, the Vostok 1 to enter Earth orbit, Apollo 11 designed to land on the Moon, ... and all were celebrated as achievements when they actually did it. Until now the LHC was the most powerful accelerator on paper, now it is the most powerful accelerator. It is news (for nerds), live with it.

More dramatic gossip from CERN today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906218)

Leaked internal memo (or more likely hoax) is claiming sighting for a low mass Higgs: http://blogs.plos.org/badphysics/2011/04/22/115gev/

"With 37.5~pb1 data from 2010 and 26.0~pb1 from 2011, we observe a resonance around 115~GeV/c2 with a significance of 4. The event rate for this resonance is about thirty times larger than the expectation from Higgs to in the standard model. This channel H is of great importance because the presence of new heavy particles can enhance strongly both the Higgs production cross section and the decay branching ratio."

Re:More dramatic gossip from CERN today (1)

zyklone (8959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906470)

An epic 'I told you so' by Wu if it's confirmed.

Most powerful accelerator (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906288)

So where is the most powerful brake when you need it?

Re:Most powerful accelerator (3, Informative)

biek (1946790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906368)

That's what the other particle is for.

Re:Most powerful accelerator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906374)

Just use the most powerful accelerator in the world, and flip the sign. ;)

Re:Most powerful accelerator (3, Interesting)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906620)

It's called the beam dump [web.cern.ch] .

Re:Most powerful accelerator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35910562)

I didn't know Toyota made Colliders...

Toy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906310)

WTF are these guys doing with this thing? They use it like a toy. Nothing of value has come of it that I've read about. I know research takes time, but they're just data collecting. What distinguishes this collider from any other collider in the world? What do they get from building this machine that they wouldn't from another one? I know this one is bigger... Does that mean more resolution? Was the extra resolution necessary?

Re:Toy (2)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906578)

What distinguishes this collider from any other collider in the world?

This collider is going to end the world.

Re:Toy (1)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907550)

I just hope that if they are going to end the world, they do it on Monday so as to not screw up my weekend.

Re:Toy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906622)

1) "WTF are these guys doing with this thing?"

They're attempting to probe the world of particle physics at energies we've not been able to previously. Particle physics is energy-dependent. The higher the energy you pump into it, the more you'll be able to learn -- chiefly because there are very nearly certainly particles with high masses, and from the only equation anyone seems to know (E=mc^2) a high mass is a very high energy. To create these particles and study them we have to push to such extreme energies. Without it we've no way of knowing even if the standard model of particle physics is right (hopefully it's not), let alone whether anything like supersymmetry exists (hopefully not), or whether it's something totally unexpected (hopefully).

2) "They use it like a toy."

Knowing quite a few people who are working with ATLAS I can assure you that using it as a toy is the last thing they're doing. This is very, very serious. It's very big money that's gone into it, and with that comes a massive sense of responsibility -- and accountability to the people who funded it, which would be the public.

3) "Nothing of value has come of it that I've read about. I know research takes time, but they're just data collecting."

You seem to be under the impression that not much data is needed. Unfortunately the decay channels into the new particles the LHC is looking for are pretty rare, so an enormous amount of data must be generated to beat down statistical noise and actually see those decays. If it helps, the LHC also has some extremely sophisticated filters pre-selecting the most interesting data that comes pouring off the detectors. Without it the hard drives would be swamped and filled within a day or so. This is very serious business and an enormous amount of work has gone into it. Patience is absolutely necessary with this. The follow-on accelerator (if there ever is one) will need even more patience. Also, there are currently internal hints and rumours -- and that's all it is -- that a weak signal at 115GeV has been detected. That's right on a predicted mass for the Higg's... but unfortunately the decay to photons is extraordinarily strong compared to expectation. This is only about 3 sigma at the minute so we shouldn't take much from it, but if it's confirmed (which will need more data) then it immediately goes against the standard model. If it's a Higg's, the decay is excruciatingly strong and will not only rule out the standard model but also the minimally supersymmetric standard model, although other supersymmetric models can account for it if they're really, really contrived -- ultimately this means that the whole of high-energy particle physics would be in peril. If it's *not* a Higg's then it breaks a lot of things and particularly the standard model, although supersymmetric models might have a better ride. Or, of course, it could be statistical noise or a poor analysis -- nothing's been made properly public about it and it's not even coming from ATLAS itself but from a small group within ATLAS (which is a huge collaboration). Regardless, to test this we need data. What did you think LHC would do, smash some particles together and leave some tracks in a bubble chamber for everyone to point at and shout "THAT'S A HIGGS!"? Of course they're "just" data collecting. What else are they meant to do?

4) "What distinguishes this collider from any other collider in the world?"

Seriously? Have you been living under a rock? *It runs at a much higher energy*. That's what distinguishes the LHC from the Tevatron, which is its nearest rival. Particle physics is all about reaching high energies. To use a tired and shitty old car analogy, what you've just said is "What distinguishes a Formula 1 car from my clapped out old Model T Ford?"

5) "What do they get from building this machine that they wouldn't from another one?"

What? You're basically suggesting that... they build another machine? What would be the point in that? You'd just end up with... the LHC, somewhere other than CERN. If you're interested, Fermilab did that. It's called the Tevatron and it's ageing and doesn't reach the energies that the LHC does, which is why Fermilab are a major contributor to the LHC. If you're meaning "What do they get that they wouldn't from another existing one?" it's, well, that no other machine on Earth reaches those energies. The best alternative is to closely examine cosmic rays, which reach energies that we have *no* chance of ever making on Earth. The problem with those is that you need even more data than you do from the LHC, since with the LHC we can control experiments and re-run them as we wish, while with cosmic rays we have to wait and wait until another identical particle hits us. Otherwise, Fermilab have no accelerator that can match it, neither does SLAC, nor the UK (chiefly because we just shut down our entire physics industry so that we can pour more money into the fucking Olympic games).

6) "Does that mean more resolution?"

Not the way you mean. It means much higher energies. Without those energies, the physics will always remain unknown to us. If we want to know the physics, we have to reach those energies. It's that simple. Of course, the question of whether we have to know the physics is a totally different one and one I'm not going to get into here. Many governments around the world thought that, yes, we *did* need to know the physics, so we take it from there.

7) "Was the extra resolution necessary?"

Swapping "resolution" to "energy", yes. So were the massive arrays of detectors and supercomputers and the sophisticated data pipelines selecting and filtering the data, and the sheer technology (and the innovations and inventions along the way) necessary to build the thing. The LHC is a masterpiece of technology, engineering, physics and sheer brainpower. We should celebrate it for that, even if we're of a mind to decry the waste of energy.

Posting anonymous partly because I don't know what I should or shouldn't be saying. I'm not a member of ATLAS, but I may as well be careful...

Re:Toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907956)

Thanks for your informative reply. I was sort of trolling, but I do wish something big would come of this sooner. I'm lacking patience. I very desperately want our incomplete model of physics fixed. I'm counting on you guys. Keep up the good work!

(posting anonymously because I haven't had an account on here in over 10 years since I got butthurt after a bad mod).

Re:Toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35909400)

Haha OK. I thought I was up on trolling from experience both sides of it but whatever... :)

I wish something big would come out of it sooner as well, I really do - and so do the people I've talked to who are working on it. Just they're a lot more... professional... about how they say it than I am. And I really, really hope that the signal leaked today (which others on this page have talked about too, actually, and it seems to have spread over the internet quickly so I probably didn't have to be paranoid at all) is true, and it turns out not to be a Higg's, and turns out to be pretty much inexplicable in any non-crazy supersymmetric model too. Then we'd have to roll all the way back to either 1970 or 1949 depending how extreme you'd want to be when gutting particle physics, and start totally fresh. That would be *AMAZING* and I want it so badly. But alas, this is science so where the data goes we have to follow. Stupid reality. ;)

Re:Toy (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35910748)

Thanks for incredibly informative comments!

Then we'd have to roll all the way back to either 1970 or 1949 depending how extreme you'd want to be when gutting particle physics, and start totally fresh. That would be *AMAZING* and I want it so badly.

This last comment surprised me. I'd always assumed those more or less on the inside would be more excited to *confirm* the standard model rather than turn it on its head. Personally, I think, as a distant observer of physics, i'd be a little bit disappointed if they didn't find the Higgs as predicted, which would seem to imply that science is not as far advanced as we'd hoped. Having to go back to '70 or '49 would invalidate a lot of research, wouldn't it?

Re:Toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922222)

Not really. It would just say that the theory was pushed as far as it could be pushed, in the same way as the advent of general relativity didn't invalidate the celestial mechanics beforehand -- it just said that the Newtonian theory was how a more general theory behaved in the weak-field, slowly-moving limit. The same kind of thing would happen here. I think that a lot of particle physicists would be extremely excited to find a Higgs and confirm the standard model -- but I think exactly the same particle physicists would be even more excited to find something utterly unexpected. That would be revolutionary, and it would mean that there was so much more still to learn -- if the standard model were confirmed (to be pedantic, it can't be -- neutrino masses immediately invalidate the vanilla standard model, and at least two neutrino species unquestionably have mass) then particle physics would finally have a true solid basis. That's great and everyone would be very happy to see that... but forging into the unknown is a lot more entertaining than exploring your own back garden and the same goes for research.

Plus I'm not a particle physicist so I've got a slightly different take on things. I strongly suspect -- and acknowledge that I might be very wrong indeed -- that the nature of the electroweak and strong forces is emergent, that is that the forces as we understand them aren't fundamental. They're simply laws that are followed by a particular configuration. Perhaps the best-known example of this kind of thing is thermodynamics. There's nothing intrinsically physical about thermodynamics at all. Initially it was a purely phenomenological science -- it described a system but said nothing about what was *actually* happening. Then physicists found that thermodynamics is an emergent theory; if you specify the nature of, say, a gas and then make that gas extremely populous thermodynamics inevitably emerges. A more complicated example comes if you take a perfect fluid (or a particular type of superfluid; Bose-Einstein condensates are best because their dispersion relation -- the relationship between the frequency and wavelength of sound waves (or "phonons" when treated as quasiparticles) -- is very simple), put it in a setup where it moves faster than its own sound-speed at some point, and pass sound waves through it. The phonons travel along paths that are identical to those of photons around a black hole. That is, some level of general relativity (the causal structure of the spacetime) emerges simply from passing phonons through a superfluid. You don't recover gravity itself, just the causall structure. The actual behaviour of the system is totally different.

In a similar kind of way, a guy called Volovik about ten years back showed that if you take a particular state of superfluid Helium II-A and excite it, you get a whole menagerie of quasiparticles emerging, whose symmetries are *exactly* those of a slightly broken standard model, plus gravitons. The evolution of the system is still totally wrong, but the symmetries are right. That's.... intriguing, isn't it? Another guy (McElrath) is convinced that by assuming a couple of clouds of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, he can produce the entire standard model plus gravity, and get the field equations right too. If he's right, and I have absolutely no idea if he is or not, then that's nothing short of revolutionary.

This is the kind of thing that I think a lot of people will turn to if the LHC fails to show up a Higgs or supersymmetry and I think I'd find that extraordinarily exciting. If these emergent scenarios also simply turn out to be accurate but not *that* accurate, then it'll have to be something even stranger. That would be so, so good.

It's the excitement of discovery (linked with a mild distaste for the overwhelming desire to use the methods of QED and apply them to gravity of all things) that makes me want the LHC to find nothing :)

Re:Toy (1)

kayumi (763841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906698)

WTF are these guys doing with this thing? They use it like a toy. Nothing of value has come of it that I've read about. I know research takes time, but they're just data collecting. What distinguishes this collider from any other collider in the world?

for one thing the increased luminosity

What do they get from building this machine that they wouldn't from another one?

increased luminosity, jobs, data to publish

I know this one is bigger... Does that mean more resolution?

just bigger, the particles are more tired when they hit each other so the collapse more easily,
as we all know collapsing particles means more *science*

Was the extra resolution necessary?

yes, probably, perhaps, uhh ...

Re:Toy (1)

zpiro (525660) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906766)

WTF are these guys doing with this thing? They use it like a toy. Nothing of value has come of it that I've read about. I know research takes time, but they're just data collecting. What distinguishes this collider from any other collider in the world? What do they get from building this machine that they wouldn't from another one? I know this one is bigger... Does that mean more resolution? Was the extra resolution necessary?

Toy, experiment -- whats the difference?

But the main thing is that you measure the constituents that make up this world, ask yourself if there is value in knowing the weight, volume and speed of something.

What is being done is allowing for greater precision when making, well, anything.

And the less obvious benefit is that basically, MRI imaging, and all of these fancy things you get at a hospital was once bleeding edge physics.
An MRI machine is essentially a detector, and in this sense its a double benefit because no only do you get more accuracy because of higher precision, but you
get better, more accurate, precies and safe radiology treatments and x-rays and so forth.

The accelerators that predates LHC are more like its younger siblings and past generations.
Like how the accelerators that were bleeding edge several decades ago are now to be found in hospitals treating cancer.

It took 46 years before the first proton accelerator was installed in hospitals, but hey!
LHC does lead and proton collisions.

Also considering how 80% of the economy is based on quantum mechanics in some way or another.
This research without a doubt leads to economic growth, just too bad you cannot invest stocks in it -- the effect is unilateral.

This machine will run for the next 30-40 years, the cost weighed against the benefit is laughable.
The next accelerator from CERN will collide electrons i believe.

LHC can now do what Stuxnet failed to accomplish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907520)

> the Large Hadron Collider is now officially the most powerful accelerator in the world.

INES Level 10 event: Despite warnings, overdriven LHC creates mini black hole, which then grows ever larger via eating up the entire Solar System
INES Level 9 event: Antimatter annihilation based powerplant explodes with a force of 50,000MT due to Stuxnet infection of control systems, planet Earth splits in half
INES Level 8 event: Fusion based large power reactor explodes, leaving the better part of a continent or continental sized country/region fully devastated
INES Level 7 event: Fukushima BWR NPP, Stuxnet worm infection induced total backup control failure causes explosions, 2011
INES Level 7 event: Chernobyl, CIA data retention derived nuclear excursion and massive explosion, 1986
INES Level 6 event: Mayak plutonium reprocessing plant boiler explosion, USSR, 1957
INES Level 5 event: Three Mile Island PWR NPP core meltdown, USA, 1979
INES Level 0-4 event: insignificant events, like a light bulb went of in the crew lavatory, while someone was seated

The headline is slightly incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907808)

The LHC set a new world record for beam intensity at a *hadron* collider (i.e. for (anti)proton-proton collisions). It reached a luminosity of 4.67 x 10^32 cm^-2 s^-1.

The world record for luminosity is 2.1 x 10^34 cm^-2 s^-1, so almost 50 times higher, and is held by the KEKB accelerator in Japan, which is an electron-positron collider. Just saying ...

The reason e+e- colliders typically operate at much higher luminosities than hadron colliders is that the cross sections in hadron collisions are much higher because they are determined by the strong rather than electroweak interactions. (Essentially, the Tevatron at Fermilab is mostly a quark-antiquark collider, while the LHC is mostly a gluon collider.)

Most powerful? (1)

PiMuNu (865592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907918)

To be pedantic, the most powerful CW proton accelerator in the world is IIRC at Paul Scherrer Institute. Most powerful pulsed source is SNS at Oak Ridge both produce about a MW I think. LHC is highest luminosity which is different.

Power (1)

newton62 (56617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908564)

In other news... Greenpeace says LHC creates too much CO2

Meanwhile... far, far away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35908580)

While they're breaking power records, Fermi is still banging out real work and making important discoveries every year. It's a shame they're looking down the barrel of a budgetary death sentence.

Gotta keep paying for all our wars and welfare though, I guess.

Cave Johnson says.. (1)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908712)

"Higher intensity means more data, and more data means more science!"
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