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A Detailed Profile of the Hadron Super Collider

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the big-science dept.

Education 191

davco9200 writes "The New York Times has up a lengthy profile of the Large Hadron Collider. The article covers the basics (size = 17 miles, cost = 8 billion, energy consumption = 14 trillon electron volts) and history but also provides interesting interviews of the scientists who work with the facility every day. The piece also goes into some detail on the expected experiments. 'The physicists, wearing hardhats, kneepads and safety harnesses, are scrambling like Spiderman over this assembly, appropriately named Atlas, ducking under waterfalls of cables and tubes and crawling into hidden room-size cavities stuffed with electronics. They are getting ready to see the universe born again.' There are photos, video and a nifty interactive graphic."

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191 comments

Sexist/Agist (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132247)

From the article:

"the physics is complex, but the controls are so simple, even my grandmother could use it."

As a 48 yo grandmother, I am offended that technical incompetance is equated with being a grandparent. I don't think anyone would have said "so simple even my grandfather could implement."

I am incidentally, a C programmer of 20+ years.

Re:Sexist/Agist (1)

andy666 (666062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132353)

I have to say, that while I respect that you are an experienced IT person, I think you are being a bit too sensitive here. Indeed, most people's grandparents do have trouble with technology. I don't have a reference for you, so that's anecdotal, but I think most people will agree with me.

Re:Sexist/Agist (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132655)

Furthermore: 1. It says "my" grandmother. I could see it being offensive, if it caught you on a bad day, if it said "your" grandmother. 2. Where did you read that? I've searched all six pages of the article and couldn't find your phrase. 3. Are you kidding/trolling?

Re:Sexist/Agist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132595)

Damn lady, you've been 48yo for years now!

> As a 48 yo grandmother, I am offended that technical incompetance is equated with being a grandparent. I don't think anyone would have said "so simple even my grandfather could implement."

That's because males often are genetically enhanced cyborgs.

Re:Sexist/Agist (1)

douglips (513461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132647)

Do you think the person quoted is 4 years old like your grandchild? Or maybe he/she is 35-34, and his grandfather is dead.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Re:Sexist/Agist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133203)

and sometimes it is a penis

Re:Sexist/Agist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133113)

Well, they can't very well say "it's so easy a caveman could do it", now can they?

Re:Sexist/Agist (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133163)

Did you know that the author's grandmother and you are not the same person, and might have different capabilities?

Re:Sexist/Agist (3, Insightful)

chribo (255996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133239)

The quoto from the article is definitly wrong. Should be:
"the physics is complex, but the controls are so simple, even a theoretical physicist can use it." ;)
- chribo

Re:Sexist/Agist (3, Insightful)

Oink (33510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133843)

I don't know if that's the inside joke I think it is, but I think you're way off base. The theoretical physicists we've had briefly in our lab (for requisite graduate student lab experience) couldn't handle anything more complicated than a pencil! One of them used a gallon jug of acetone to clean something the size of a quarter (exaggerating, but only slightly.)

Re:Sexist/Agist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133299)

"the physics is complex, but the controls are so simple, even my grandmother could use it."

As a 48 yo grandmother, I am offended that technical incompetance is equated with being a grandparent. I don't think anyone would have said "so simple even my grandfather could implement."

I am incidentally, a C programmer of 20+ years.


The keyword is my grandmother and NOT your


Aside from that, so what? Just because you are the exception to the rule doesnt invalidate the stereotype. If a person jumps off a 14 story building and survives, does that mean eveyone that does it will also?

Re:Sexist/Agist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133341)

so simple, even my grandmother could use it.

So who will be having the roast duck, with the mango salsa?

Cool (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132249)


They are getting ready to see the universe born again.

It's like having a Tivo with a 6,000 year replay capacity!

Re:Cool (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132333)

I don't think there's anyone on this project who thinks the universe is only 6000 years old.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133535)

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH...

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132935)

Theyre stating the obvious about the daily workwear though, I thought.
 
- When youre creating a captive mini black hole on Earth I would have thought hard hats and steel toecapped boots would be a MINIMUM safety requirement.

Re:Cool (1)

javaxjb (931766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133841)

Just in time for a born again Christian to be reincarnated [npr.org] in a born again universe?

Re:Cool (0, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133959)


Yeah, I heard that Jerry Falwell died today. I guess he wasn't sucking Jesus' cock hard enough.

Re:Cool (2)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134433)

It's like having a Tivo with a 6,000 year replay capacity!
Great! That'll be JUST enough time for the writers of Lost to figure out a coherent plot line!

Compact?! (5, Funny)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132253)

"Above is one of the collider's massive particle detectors, called the Compact Muon Solenoid"

I'd hate to see the Large Muon Solenoid!

Re:Compact?! (1)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132803)

Yeah. That's called ATLAS [atlas.ch] . Except it has a toroid as well as a solenoid technically...

Thank goodness there's no typo (5, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132257)

I don't even want to think about a hardon supercollider.

Re:Thank goodness there's no typo (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132311)

For a minute, I thought "Hardon Super Collider" was the name of the Japanese version of "America's Funniest Home Videos".

Re:Thank goodness there's no typo (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132651)

It would be twice the size, but instead of an electrical input it would run off of 15 million Viagra!

Obligitory Futurama Quote (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134023)

So I says, "Supercollider? I just met her!" And then they built the supercollider. Thank you, you've been a great audience.

Cue the hardon collision jokes (0)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132267)

Actually, don't.

Cue "Large Hardon" jokes (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132277)

in 3.. 2..

Re:Cue "Large Hardon" jokes (1)

Sherloqq (577391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132393)

Heh, I'm glad I'm not the only one with a mind experiencing Freudian slips...

Life sucks (1)

nih (411096) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132291)

when the universe starts again my life better not suck as bad as it has, or i want my money back!

Re:Life sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133603)

don't worry you'll be reborn as a snail

what a disapointment... (0, Redundant)

excelsior_gr (969383) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132327)

...I initially read "A Detailed Profile of the Hardon Super Collider".

hahahaha (-1, Redundant)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132331)

Sounds like a video I don't want to see:

"The lengthy profile of the Large Hardon Collider"

The Problem with Something this Expensive (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132369)

The problem with something this expensive is that the average person, including myself, cannot see, even if it provides every answer they hope for it, how that will change my everyday life in the least. At least the Space Program gave us Tang.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (3, Insightful)

Jamu (852752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132693)

The expense of Physics isn't a problem until it's unaffordable. Physics has always been profitable in the long term, and survives because it's profitable in the short term. And Physics gave you the Space Program.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (5, Insightful)

qc_dk (734452) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132849)

Well, you used something that came from the CERN collaboration to write your question. I would say that WWW has certainly changed the daily life of almost all of us, and the economic boom that it caused through the 90s has certainly been a bountiful repayment of our investment.

Cheers,
Qc_dk
Ps. I used to work at cern and with the 10'000 men and 2 women there, there certainly was a lot of large hardon collisions. I believe you USians call it cockblocking. ;)

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133211)

While it's true that HTML came out of CERN, it was hardly the direct result of their work. It was just a useful way to share information. Because of that, something basically like HTML was bound to crop up somewhere in short order (and in fact, similar markup languages did), regardless of how many MeV the blokes at CERN were smashing things together at. Of course, other advances important to the WWW were driven by the large amounts of data produced by these physics labs, but the case remains that this was merely to support the physics research, not a direct result of it.

Not to knock CERN or other labs. If nothing else, the intellectual stimulation of learning how the universe works is worth at least as much as paying philosophy professors at public universities to continually re-ask the same questions the Greeks were.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (4, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133053)

Pure science has no marketable goals in mind. What will the discovery of new particles bring to the world? No one knows, just as no one knew the consequences of the discovery of the electron in 1897. Yet we now have a world where the bulk of the economy is built upon knowing its properties and behavior. Pure science brings about quiet revolutions in unpredictable ways, and those who recognize that realize that funding it is vital to progress. You mention the space program giving us Tang; have you any idea how many commercial products have come about as a direct result of the space program? Any idea of the lives saved and the progress achieved through the struggles brought about by our venturing into space?

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (4, Insightful)

wanerious (712877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133179)

I'm not trying to be offensive, but that sounds like a remarkably egotistic statement. Should it be required to change your life in any way for you to care about it? Rather than something being wrong with the experiment in that it has no intersection with your interests, perhaps the problem is that your interests are too narrow to accommodate something that (I'd argue) is objectively interesting by any measure. Here is an opportunity for the average person to learn something about the fundamental nature of the Universe to understand the results.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133613)

Should it be required to change your life in any way for you to care about it?
Did you really mean "care about," or "pay for?"

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

wanerious (712877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133835)

Either one. Members of a society should occasionally pay for things that are not in their self-interest. This, in my opinion, is surely in that category. It is so interesting that, also in my opinion, every member of the society should attempt to appreciate the science.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134063)

Should it be required to change your life in any way for you to care about it?

When I'm paying for it -- Yes!

What I'm saying is that this is far more money than I'll ever see in this lifetime, for something that doesn't appear likely to improve my life one iota in the process. I'm stating a common point of view for many people about projects like this, which is not egotistic at all.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

wanerious (712877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134245)

Just because the opinion is popular doesn't make it right. It is certainly egotistic to assume that the project should not be funded just because it doesn't affect your life. It may well affect others. The implicit assumption is that your life and interests are complete and in the right; whereas I would argue that the cause is right, and something about you might be broken if you can't see the worthiness of it. One aspect of maturity is the ability to sacrifice for the benefit of others.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

mines_bigger (1102597) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134845)

U do state arguments like that when it comes to war machinery, do you ? (Got a gun at home ?)

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

Moisteri (1082707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133735)

It could create a disturbance in space/time continuum and open up a rift on your backyard. Handy for dumbing garbage into.

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (2, Interesting)

Somnus (46089) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133933)

To me endeavors like this are the most perfect expression of man. Vonnegut wrote in Breakfast of Champions,


Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery.


To plunge into the unknown is a moral imperative for any thinking being.

If all you care about are material practicalities, this thing is roughly 1/50th the current cost of a certain misadventure in the Middle East, and is more likely to produce cool stuff. One particularly exciting bit of technology already is the LHC's grid computing infrastructure [web.cern.ch] .

Re:The Problem with Something this Expensive (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134095)

<mocking tone>"At least the space program gave us Tang. At least the space program gave us Tang."</mocking tone> And I suppose that computer you're using is made of stone knives and bear skins? Open your eyes man! Especially if you've had LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness. Neither computers nor the internet nor the delicate molecular manipulations of the cornea - made with lasers that are also guided by computers - would be possible without the insights gained from the kind of experiments that the LHC enable. And that's just what I can think of in the two seconds it takes to formulate a /. reply.

"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (5, Interesting)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132429)

...energy consumption = 14 trillon electron volts...
So that means the LHC only uses 2.24 microjoules? Is that per second or per fortnight?

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (1, Insightful)

Bazman (4849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132691)

That's more like 'per hadron'. Ask your electricity supplier to bill you per hadron...

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (1)

rhombic (140326) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132825)

Ask your electricity supplier to bill you per hadron...

Particularly since electricity suppliers only provide you with leptons, no hadrons. And they make you give them back when you're done with them. Bastards.

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133259)

Thank goodness they take your old leptons back. Housekeeping is bad enough without having to figure out how to dispose of al those leptons.

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (2, Interesting)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132841)

Hmm.. I thought that each proton would be accelerated to 7 TeV, so when they collide there is a 14 TeV collision. In any case, "energy consumption" is the wrong term.

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134133)

Hey this isn't ITER! :)
-l

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (2, Informative)

phaunt (1079975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132707)

From TFA:

Everything about the collider sounds, well, large -- from the 14 trillion electron volts of energy with which it will smash together protons (...)
So that energy is not the consumption (which would be more usefully measured in Watts anyway, as you point out), but the energy the particles have when they collide (which is usually measured in (T)eV).

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (4, Informative)

Jamu (852752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132837)

Or to put it another way: the LHC is not 100% efficient and can't be powered with a single postgrad and a bicycle generator. The true power consumption of the LHC will be about 120 MW.

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (1)

jimbo3123 (320148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133783)

Yeah, that 14 TeV has to be the energy of the particles, not the entire consumption of the machine.

BTW, the energy consumption of the machine would never be measured in Watts (the SI unit of POWER). It may be listed in kw-hr though.

My TI-85 tells me that 14 Tev is about .623 pico kw-hr (6.23 x 10^-13).

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (1)

phaunt (1079975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133999)

BTW, the energy consumption of the machine would never be measured in Watts (the SI unit of POWER). It may be listed in kw-hr though.
Well, you were only told "the machine consumes n kWh", you wouldn't be a lot the wiser. If you were told it consumes n kWh in m hours of operation, you'd be back at power (to wit n/m kW). Energy consumption for household appliances is also listed in kW.

Re:"Energy Consumption" - WTF? (2, Informative)

anzev (894391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133231)

This really is a strange figure. It might reference anything but the consumption, most notably, the "energy" inside the ring. Or maybe the consumption of ONLY the ring itself, becaue when you start looking at the magnets, and vacuum pumps, and control system infrastructure you quickly find out that you need to be connected to at least 2 power grids :-). At least that's the case with DESY if I remember correctly.

17 miles. (2, Interesting)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132469)

seventeen miles? I went to look at the pictures, but i don't see anything that comes close to seventeen miles. Certainly, i don't doubt it, but not knowing much about particle accelerators and supercolliders, i am very curious to get the big picture. If something is seven-teen-miles long, or around, or deep or high, wow, do i really want to see it. or an overlay of it on a map if it is underground!

Perhaps it is just the structural engineer side of me, but i would love to know more about how they made something that large.

Re:17 miles. (1)

fred ugly (125371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132565)

check the nifty interactive graphic!

Re:17 miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133383)

It doesn't work and I don't see any "missing plugin" warning.

Re:17 miles. (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132625)

As ever you can start with Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and work outward from there.

Re:17 miles. (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133047)

das ist underground.

Pictures of the "mundane" parts here (3, Informative)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134465)

Here is a map [web.cern.ch] showing the layout of the LHC. It actually consists of two rings and a couple of linear accelerator stages so they aren't injecting cold particles into the high energy beam. Keep in mind, the main ring is 17 miles around and about 100 meters underground. A lot of the people living inside its circumference probably don't actually realize what's going on underneath their feet, other than the various CERN campuses spread around the ring and all the nerdy looking people going in and out. In fact, there will be millions of particles whizzing around the track at ~99.9999% the speed of light...circling the entire distance 10,000 times a second.

What you see in the NY Times slide show is basically the most impressive parts of the LHC, the incredibly complex and massive detectors assembled in huge underground vaults. The remainder, while still fairly complicated and interesting, is orders of magnitude simpler.

The rest of the collider is mostly a 3 meter diameter tunnel (pic) [web.cern.ch] , which has a track for getting people and equipment around it as needed, and the beam conduit. The physical tunnel is being reused from an older collider that was retired in 2000 to make way for this one, and I presume was dug with a tunnel boring machine.

The conduit (CAD rendering) [web.cern.ch] itself is more than just a pipe. The most important part is the two vacuum pipes inside that the beam runs through, and the 9,000+ magnets around the pipes that electromagnetically constrain and accellerate the particles so they follow the 17 mile loop instead of smashing uselessly into the walls. It also contains the electrical lines that power the magnets, and helium lines that keep them cool. Some stray collisions are expected, so it also contains a little bit of radiation shielding, although I don't believe people are supposed to be in the tunnel when it is operating.

More Pictures [web.cern.ch]
LHC Outreach Page [web.cern.ch]
Map showing cities and Swiss/French border [web.cern.ch]

We don't need no stinkin' Higgs (4, Interesting)

sweetser (148397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132535)

Sorry Charlie, the animations of the Standard Model are up on YouTube, http://youtube.com/watch?v=ExNPiMcVXww [youtube.com]

U(1) is a unit circle in the complex plane. SU(2) is a unit quaternion which is easy to animate if you have software for the job (barf out thousands of exp(q-q*), sort by time, drive through POVRay). Electroweak is the product of the first two. The animation of SU(3) tells you what the standard model is about, namely the ability to smoothly describe any event seen by an observer at 0,0,0,0. Gravity is about the sizes of things, so scale the ball to different sizes in a smooth way, and that is the symmetry behind gravity.

It is inertial mass that breaks the symmetry of standard model, not some phony Mexican hat dance around a false god of a vacuum.

doug

Re:We don't need no stinkin' Higgs (1)

Somnus (46089) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133677)

Questions:

* What does the quarternion formulation tell us that the standard Standard Model formulation does not? I understand that it provides a unified framework for treating the different groups, but particles in the Standard Model are still charged separately under electroweak and strong -- is this a high energy theory, where we expect gauge coupling unification somewhere?

* I don't understand your concept of inertial mass breaking gauge symmetries. The Standard Model is Lorentz invariant, and gauge particles have to be massless to preserve gauge invariance. A Higgs condensate breaks the SU(2) gauge symmetry by making the gauge fields massive. How does your idea work?

Ride On! (1)

Last Standing Footma (1102565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134087)

Sweetser, thats the most sensible thing I have EVER heard regarding Standard Model. Could I invite you to give lectures to the place where I took my shiny & useless M.Sc. in Quantum Field Theory? :D

Born again... (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132537)

They are getting ready to see the universe born again.

Great... So the next time I get stuck behind it in traffic I'm gonna have to stare at some stupid fish logo...

Re:Born again... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133619)

Perhaps, but I think that'll be better than bumper stickers that read, "My Hadron is bigger than your Hadron"

BETTER HADRON COVERAGE (3, Informative)

mattnyc99 (1008511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132545)

This stuff is pretty cool, but The New Yorker's incredible science writer (who basically told the rest of the world about global warming) had a more in-your-face profile of the LHC [newyorker.com] last week, and Popular Mechanics has officially dubbed it "The World's Biggest Science Project." [popularmechanics.com] Sweet.

Re:BETTER HADRON COVERAGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19134619)

Though what's depressing is something that both articles mention in brief:-

If the LHC doesn't find the Higgs, then that just about wraps it up for any further colliders. And, by extension, any further experiments into the fundamental whosis of the universe.

We've been looking for an answer to the question 'So, what's that made of then?' since the dawn of civilisation, it seems deeply sad that we could soon reach a point where, as a species, we shrug and say 'Dunno'.

graaaaaaaah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132643)

I came to /. to GET AWAY from particle physics revision!

Re:graaaaaaaah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133541)

Errr. So had I! :(

Please stop talking about power/energy! (1, Insightful)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132681)

I'm seriously getting sick of seeing kW/h or energy units used as consumption measure without any context.
Wow.. 'energy consumption = 14 trillon electron volts', you say?????
It's almost 7E-13 kWh! So I guess I could power trillions of LHC with just a liter of oil.

Re:Please stop talking about power/energy! (2, Informative)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134709)

No. 14TeV is the energy of a single hadron, not the energy involved on the whole LHC.

So if the beam had a current of 1 amp (1 Coulomb / sec) then the energy of the particles in the beam would be 6.241×10^18 * 7x10^-13 = 4.3*10^6 kW*Hr. That's a lot of energy, and I'm guessing the beam currents are MUCH less than 1 amp. BTW, power = energy / time or work / time.

Mods are clueless on this one.

/. does it again! (5, Informative)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132727)

There are more mistakes in the /. gist than in the NYTimes article -- which incidentally is a good summary for the LHC. Well, the writer was at CERN about a month ago, so I am assuming it took about that long to write it.

It is called the LHC -- Large Hadron Collider. Not the Hadron SuperCollider. The SuperCollider [slashdot.org] is dead. It was called the SSC. But it has passed on. It has ceased to be! It has expired and gone to meet its maker! Its a stiff! Bereft of line and rests in peaces in TX! It's kicked the bucket and shuffled off its mortal coil! (Gee. I wish I could write this about the M$! Grrr!!)

The energy consumption is 14 trillion electron volts?! Wt..? Last time, I checked the LHC could not run on days where the electricity prices were high. Actually, it can not run during winter for that reason. It and the detectors consume as much energy as you get out from a medium-sized nuclear reactor -- and that's why it sits partially in France and not fully in Switzerland. (France produces a whole lot more power than Switzerland.)

"The piece also goes into some detail on the expected experiments. " Huh? What expected experiments? The experiments have been in construction now for seven years. You mean expected results?!

Honestly, how many mistakes can you make in one paragraph??

Sorry about the rant, but I am so annoyed with the latest reports about M$'s threats, that I had to vent. I feel better now. Slightly.

obligatory (1)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133811)

Actually there is a blatant mistake in the NYTimes article. It says that collisions wil happen 30 million times a second.

"Again and again and again -- 30 million times a second, in fact."

Nope. The LHC runs at 40MHz.... A number that is absolutely hard-coded into the design and can not be changed... Wrote an e-mail to the NYTimes. They are generally pretty good with correcting in due time.

Spiderman 2 (1)

Hic sunt leones (1048372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132751)

Just a casual observation: it seems somewhat ironic that the article describes as "spidermen" the physicists working on the collider, which will, among other things, make suns.
I don't know if it was intentional, but if it was, it's a clever and very subtle reference to the popular comic/movie.

Power consumption = 14 Tev... ORLY? (2, Interesting)

DirtySouthAfrican (984664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132755)

Ignoring that a TeV is a unit of energy and not power, that's about 2e-6 joules... a flea sneezes more energetically than that. They mean that individual particles can reach this energy. Actual power consumption is probably enough to power a dozen DeLoreans.

Re:Power consumption = 14 Tev... ORLY? (1)

DirtySouthAfrican (984664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132789)

... *curls up and waits to be modded Redundant*

Re:Power consumption = 14 Tev... ORLY? (2, Informative)

Oink (33510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133717)

Actually, what you said is not quite correct either. That's the center of mass collisional energy. Individual particles can reach half that, or 7 TeV.

14 trillion eV ? (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132757)

The blurb above looks like a Dr. Evil quote -- I assume you realize that "14 trillion eV" is a miniscule amount of energy? It's about 2 micro Joules, or .5 microcalories.

On the scale of a single particle, this is a tremendous amount of energy (for comparison, the energy scale for chemical reactions such as combustion is a few eV). Imprtaing so much energy to a particle (as well as powering the detectors, cooling appartus etc) means the whole collider has a massive energy budget -- way way bigger than 14 trillion eV, or even <gasp>one Joule</gasp>. Actually, the power required (tens to of Megawatts, enough for a small city) is more impressive than the total energy expended (not so much since the energy is expended over a very short time).

There's a youtube of their IT manager (2, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132801)

There's a youtube video out there (I really wish I could find it) and it has the IT manager for the project. I have to wonder a little bit about him because he was asked why they didn't go with the cell processor instead of Intel based processors. His answer was "The P4's have better floating point processing". I could understand a lot of reasons to go with the P4 because there are a lot of good x86 programmers out there and they could reuse a lot of code etc etc. Has anyone else seen this video?

Re:There's a youtube of their IT manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133349)

Have you considered the performance penalty Cell takes when using double precision?

I have to do this: (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19132827)

"Super collider? I never even met her."

trolLkore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132839)

kneepads? oh yeah... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132883)

'The physicists, wearing hardhats, kneepads and safety harnesses

The kneepads are for when the Senators, Representatives, various goverment functionaries, and lobbyists [wisegeek.com] visit.

Kickass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19132923)

This is going to be great. The LHC is for sure going generate miniature black holes and energy patterns that demonstrate the existence of extra dimensions, and us String Theory fanboys will be vindicated!!@

All you Supersymmetry fanboys will be eating your words! "Squarks" my ass! String Theory FTW!!1!

Two 7TeV Beams = 14TeV collision (2, Informative)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133017)

14 TeV is the amount of energy that is in a collision from two 7TeV beams colliding. In this case, the beam means particles (protons) accelerated to carry 7TeV of momentum. But that's just one "particle". The LHC, there are many "buckets" of particles being stored and collided and the total stored energy around the whole ring is 360MegaJoules. It is fairly easy to calculate actually:

There are 2808 bunches around the ring, each containing 1.15x10^{11} protons each with 7TeV of momentum. 7TeV = 7x10^{12} x 1.602x10^{-19} Joules. You multiply it all out, you get 362MegaJoules stored in the beam around the LHC ring.

That's 1 small cruise ship of 10,000 tons moving at 30km/hour.

450 automobioles of 2tons moving at 100km/hour.

Is enough to melt 500kg of copper. (which is actually a worry if the beams "are lost" due to a magnet quench and they hit the vacuum pipe!)

Oh, btw, the power consumption of the LHC only (excluding the detectors) is ~120MW.

Re:Two 7TeV Beams = 14TeV collision (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133765)

Oh, btw, the power consumption of the LHC only (excluding the detectors) is ~120MW.

I am pretty sure that most of that 120MW is used to power the electromagnets that confine the beams.

14 TeV is the amount of energy that is in a collision from two 7TeV beams colliding. In this case, the beam means particles (protons) accelerated to carry 7TeV of momentum. But that's just one "particle". The LHC, there are many "buckets" of particles being stored and collided and the total stored energy around the whole ring is 360MegaJoules. It is fairly easy to calculate actually:

Yes, it is. :) [google.com] It's just 6.23068624 × 10^-10 watt-hours. Of course, it's released over an extremely short time interval, which is why it seems so large when expressed in the less-familiar terms used in particle physics. But the actual energy released in the experiments is quite small compared to ordinary energy stores we're accustomed to using every day. Most of the juice is used to power the electromagnets and the other instruments.

Re:Two 7TeV Beams = 14TeV collision (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133879)

Way to not read the comment I'm replying to. My figure was for one 14 TeV collision. As the parent to my post out, there are many more particles accelerated to that energy level within the ring.

362 million joules = 100,555.556 watt hours [google.com]

Re:Two 7TeV Beams = 14TeV collision (3, Insightful)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134123)

Err.... Actually, this power does not go into the electromagnets directly. The electromagnets happen to be superconducting magnets, which, once powered, do not require more current. That's not where the power goes. The power goes into keeping it cool. 18kW of synchrotron radiation is dumped into the cryogenics system. The syncrotron radiation is due to the relativistic charged particles curving under the influence of the magnetic fields, but this dumped energy needs to be extracted before it results in a quench. A quench is defined as a superconducting magnet, which has no resistivity, transitioning into the resistive phase, due to the temperature rising locally above the critical point. Here is an interesting link to the power budget of CERN: link [web.cern.ch] As you will see, the LHC eats up little power (given its size) compared to the SPS (Super Proton Synchrotron) which has conventional magnets and has much smaller radius. The SPS delivers 450MeV protons to the LHC, which then accelerates them upto 14TeV. But the SPS eats up more power than the LHC due to its conventional magnets. Hurray for super-conductivity. ps. you may not have realized this, but might like to know that your post resulted in an excited discussion in at least one CERN corridor...

Hey Vegeta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133345)

What does the scanner say about its power level?

MiNus 3, troll) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19133759)

C'mon editors... (0)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19133847)

14 trillion volts is not a measure of power consumption, it's an electric potential delta.

I don't get it. (2, Funny)

teal_ (53392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134139)

Let me be the first to admit that I don't understand how this works. Will the mass of Slashdot users who pretend to understand follow suit, or will they shun me? :)

I want this camera... (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134387)

... a 60-megapixel digital camera taking 40 million pictures a second.
I want that camera. The data throughput must be staggering.

Of course, I'm curious how it can do 40 million pictures per second, if particles being spun around the track by superconductors can only collide 20 million times per second. I know it's a 17 mile track, but still, taking that as a base for the maximum speed you can get a particle going, it makes me wonder how you could push 60 million pixels worth of data over even a short span of cable, 40 million times per second... I'd love to see more info just on the camera, and how they manage to push that much data, that quickly.

Also, I wonder what's being done with the old supercollider that the US was building in Texas? Is it just sitting there, rusting?

Corrected summary (3, Informative)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134695)

Circumference = 27 kilometers (~17.5 miles), cost = 8 billion USD (presumably, and only for the construction), energy consumption = ~120 MW, particle energy = 14 TeV.

More interesting statistics [web.cern.ch] are available on the LHC outreach site.

What a half-assed attempt at a submission. Even the title is a mix between the SSC [bbc.co.uk] and the LHC.

Where's Gordon Freeman? (0, Offtopic)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19134815)

Sorry, I can't help but think of Half-Life2 when I see articles like these. ;)
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