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Man Creates ATLAS Detector From Lego Bricks

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the type-thirteen-planet dept.

Toys 54

First time accepted submitter Vicsun writes "It won't be smashing hadrons at speeds that are fractions of the speed of light, but it will still be a hell of a lot of fun, and could be in your hands soon. A post-doc at the Niels Bohr Institute, in Copenhagen, has recreated the ATLAS detector in Lego bricks, and is now trying to transform his design into an official LEGO product."

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54 comments

When will it stop? (3, Funny)

houbou (1097327) | about 10 months ago | (#43983987)

"Official" LEGO project, geez.
It's getting to a point where all the various types of LEGO could be an entire store unto itself!
At this point, I'm surprised nobody has designed these bricks to have actual purpose such as mechanical, electronic and/or other type of entities that could be programmed and then assembled to do SOMETHING.
I was once a kid and I recall my fun with LEGO, but, back then, there were just a bunch of pieces and you let your imagination go, now, it's utterly ridiculous.
Maybe we should be building a LEGO Inflatable Doll :) Would that become an "Official" LEGO project?

Re:When will it stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984069)

That is just a set of normal Lego bricks.

You want "proper" Lego. Get the creator sets.

Re: When will it stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984221)

But they have. Yesterday in my software architecture class, a team demonstrated a functional robot explorer based on the Lego Mindstorms processor (http://mindstorms.lego.com) running a RobotC program controlled remotely through a Samantha wireless controller (http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/samantha). They're not the first.

Re: When will it stop? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#43984409)

It's older than that. Twenty years ago they already had lego shafts, cogs and belts for building mechanisms. Then came the lego motors in increasingly sophisticated form, and the pneumatic parts.

Re: When will it stop? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#43984905)

Older than that even. I think in was the mid eighties when I had motorized lego. The kit was for a semi truck but I built all kinds of things and must have used lots of batteries.

Re:When will it stop? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984609)

At this point, I'm surprised nobody has designed these bricks to have actual purpose

It does have an actual purpose. From TFA:

Sascha plans to use the model in education and outreach projects to promote particle physics in the public. It serves as an eye catcher, a tool to discuss the basic design of particle detectors such as ATLAS, as well as a souvenir, Sascha writes on cuusoo.com.

Re:When will it stop? (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#43984759)

The first lego "kits" appeared in 1964; there was already a motorised Lego train set by 1968. While there was certainly a "dark age" of kits with specially-designed non-transferrable parts in the 2000s, I really don't think the construction-only "golden age" of Lego you're imagining actually existed.

Re:When will it stop? (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 10 months ago | (#43986471)

It did, hell probably still does. Its just it only applied to us poor kids.

If you only went to look at lego kits in the walmart/kmart/cosco if your small, poor town, you didn't see all the fancy parts.

I live in Raleigh NC now, we have a Lego store with the latest Mindstorns and Technics. A couple years ago when visiting the town I grew up in on the West coast of Florida (population 2,800) I was buying a birthday gift for a friends child ... they have no technics, no special kits. Basically about 10 different Lego small box kits, one town kit of medium size, and a couple Duplo containers. Thats it. Most of this town is far too rural to get decent Internet, so they generally don't do a lot of browsing either.

These kids have no idea that Technics even exist, let alone be able to afford them.

Re: When will it stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43987683)

Who ever moded this guy up is a jackass. That is all.

Atlas detector? (5, Funny)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 10 months ago | (#43983999)

It's a freakin' 100 ton assault 'mech.

It's not particularly hard to detect.

Re:Atlas detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984565)

In the MW4 games, the Atlas packs an ECM and an IFF Jammer. It actually can be hard to detect...on sensor anyway. They're freakin' tall and tend to stick out.

Re:Atlas detector? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 10 months ago | (#43984875)

It's a freakin' 100 ton assault 'mech.

It's not particularly hard to detect.

Those Atlas D-DCs with their overpowered ECM suite makes it a little more difficult.

Obligatory momentary dyslexia induced comment (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 10 months ago | (#43984049)

If your LEGO collection gives you hadrons, you got a serious problem, mister.

Currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (4, Informative)

crgrace (220738) | about 10 months ago | (#43984107)

This Lego creation is really amazing in person. The guy did a stellar job. It's permanently located in the lobby of building 50 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (right next to the cigar box where Glenn Seaborg put the first ever sample of Plutonium). If you go on a tour there or visit an Open House, you can see it for yourself. Here's a site with a lot more details about its construction: http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~sdube/lego.html [lbl.gov]

Re:Currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laborat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43985157)

Not quite...if you read the article you linked to, the model at LBL is a copy of the original.

Re:Currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laborat (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | about 10 months ago | (#43985365)

that is a replica

In October 2012, LBL had its Open House on the 12th. It would be a great exhibit to attract kids and adults alike and so I volunteered to build a copy of the ATLAS Lego Model for the Open House. The original Lego model was designed by Sascha Mehlhase and he maintains a website with information and a construction manual here.

Currently at CoEPP Adelaide, South Australia (1)

well_in_theory (2650541) | about 10 months ago | (#43990377)

I believe (with some certainty) that the original (Sascha's) is currently residing at the Centre of Expertise in Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) in Adelaide, South Australia, courtesy of an experimental physicist there. It didn't quite survive transport, so it has since been re-constructed on site.

Re:Currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laborat (2)

steelfood (895457) | about 10 months ago | (#43985815)

Based on the photographs from CERN, the big model is actually fairly close to minifigure scale.

Re:Currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laborat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43989025)

it is indeed ... I guess that was the part of the idea, to give an impression of the shear size

Superconducting magnet Technic kit (1)

phage434 (824439) | about 10 months ago | (#43984175)

I can't wait to start building with Lego superconducting magnets. And the liquid helium distribution system!

Re:Superconducting magnet Technic kit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984311)

The world supply of Lego helium is extremely limited. I don't think it should be squandered on Lego models of the ATLAS detector.

Re:Superconducting magnet Technic kit (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 10 months ago | (#43986117)

Polyethylene bricks and some Mindstorms attached photodiodes would make a nice My First Neutron Detector.

Please don't say fractions of anything... (2)

landofcleve (1959610) | about 10 months ago | (#43984217)

unless you provide the fractional value of whatever measurement you are referencing. Seriously, I technically am moving at a fraction of the speed of light while I sit on my ass typing this, should be unnecessary, post.

Wait what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984255)

"It won't be smashing hadrons at speeds that are fractions of the speed of light..."

Aren't all speeds some fraction of the speed of light except for light itself?

Re:Wait what? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#43984663)

Speeds that are the product of an irrational number and the speed of light cannot be expressed as a fraction. Consider yourself out-pedanted.

Re:Wait what? (2)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 10 months ago | (#43985627)

They can be expressed as a *fraction* - "sqrt(2)/2" is a *fraction* - but they can't be expressed as *a ratio between two numbers that are both integers*. BAM! Double-out-pedanted.

Re:Wait what? (2)

Ioldanach (88584) | about 10 months ago | (#43985629)

Speeds that are the product of an irrational number and the speed of light cannot be expressed as a fraction. Consider yourself out-pedanted.

Why, you can't go C/Pi?

Boo (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#43984365)

If EvE Online couldn't get a Rifter [cuusoo.com] out of Lego even when over 10,000 people signed the petition, this project is also doomed to failure.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43989117)

it's an "education/outreach project" to get people interested in this kind of physics
so even if they don't make it to the final product, getting LEGO's attention might already help
I voted in any case

I was expecting an awesome detailed piece of kit. (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 10 months ago | (#43984375)

Then i clicked the link and saw the tiny non-detailed thing. What are those, 160 blocks?

A LEGO City car looks more complex.

Re:I was expecting an awesome detailed piece of ki (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 10 months ago | (#43984395)

This. This is what i wanted to see (and order / put on my wishlist)
http://www.geek.com/news/the-large-hadron-collider-has-been-recreated-in-lego-1452279/ [geek.com]

Re:I was expecting an awesome detailed piece of ki (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#43984535)

He's putting together kits for ATLAS collaborators here [mehlhase.info] but I doubt Cuscoo would fund a 2000 Euro [mehlhase.info] kit as a consumer product.

Re:I was expecting an awesome detailed piece of ki (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#43984561)

560 pieces.

In fall 2011, I have designed a model of the ATLAS experiment made entirely of LEGO bricks.
It illustrates all details, from the muon and magnet system to the innermost pixel detector and will hopefully be a great eye-catcher for all generations. Here's some key features:
ATLAS LEGO model

        about 9500 pieces
        roughly 1:50 in scale
        (close to scale with the LEGO man)
        material cost of about 2000 Euros
        (payed by the high energy physics group at the Niels Bohr Institute)
        about 1 m x 0.5 m x 0.5 m in size
        approximately 33 hours construction time
        (spread out over several weekends and after hours)
        around 48 hours to build the 3D model
        (a one-timer though)

As a follow up to the 1:50 model, I also designed a smaller and cheaper miniature model in LEGO bricks.
Though it does not illustrate all details, the key features of ATLAS are visible. Here's some key features:
ATLAS LEGO mini

        560 pieces
        roughly 1:2000 in scale
        material cost of about 75 Euros
        about 22 cm x 11 cm x 11 cm in size
        approximately 90 minutes construction time
        around 7 hours to build the 3D model
        (a one-timer though)

http://sascha.mehlhase.info/physics.php [mehlhase.info]

This is unacceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984401)

No mention of 3D printing? Either the man is a Luddite, or 3D printing has jumped the shark.

Worthless! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43984589)

"It won't be smashing protons and neutrons at speeds approaching the speed of light"

THEN WHAT GOOD IS IT????

It's completely useless if it doesn't help me build my death ray!

Um, I mean my "green energy projector." At least that's what my subsidy application says...

you keep using that word... (2)

hierophanta (1345511) | about 10 months ago | (#43985347)

It won't be smashing hadrons at speeds that are fractions of the speed of light

it will be doing exactly that. in other news, i can do anything at a fraction of the speed of light.

Nonfunctional... duh (3, Funny)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 10 months ago | (#43985761)

The whole time I'm reading the article I'm saying to myself, "WTF? How did this guy build a functional ATLAS detector so small and out of legos?"

Functional?

duh... //facedesk

Re:Nonfunctional... duh (2)

Inigo Montoya (31674) | about 10 months ago | (#43989741)

Title should be "Man Creates Model of the ATLAS Detector From Lego Bricks"

I also read the title and thought he had somehow made a functional replica at lego scales.

First Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43989375)

It won't be smashing hadrons at speeds that are fractions of the speed of light

That first line of the summary had me cringing. Any speed at all is a "fraction of the speed of light" but what's neat about the LHC is the fact that it gets protons up to 99.9999991% of c (about 3 m/s slower than c) which to my knowledge is the fastest we've achieved with particles that aren't electrons.

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