Earth annihilated by artificial black hole!! HADRON COLLIDED FIRES UP!!
Back during the days of the atomic bomb development, some scientists feared that an atomic bomb could destroy the entire atmosphere. However, Robert Oppenheimer's team soon proved that this was a calculation error (they didn't have computers as we understand them today). Scientists Konopinski, C. Marvin, and Teller wrote report LA-602, showing that ignition of the atmosphere was impossible, not just unlikely.
Similarly, now some fear that the Large Hadron Collider, which is a state of the art European particle accelerator that will send beams of protons around a 17-mile underground ring, will create a black hole, putting the Earth and all of its creatures at risk. CERN issued a report revealing that, even if a black hole were to form, it would rapidly evaporate due to Hawking Radiation.
Also, a new report published in IOP Publishing's Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, reveals that in fact, this “end of the world rumor” is all bogus. The report explained that since cosmic ray collisions are more energetic than those produced in the LHC, but are incapable of producing vacuum bubbles or dangerous magnetic monopoles, the LHC experiment is not something we should fear.
The first high-energy collision is set to start after the Large Hadron Collider is officially unveiled.
In February, the last piece of the ATLAS detector, the world’s largest general-purpose particle detector, has been lowered down a 300 feet shaft at the European Organization for Nuclear Research's (CERN) underground facility along the Swiss-French border. This concluded the construction of the high-tech device which started in 2003.
The ATLAS detector, measuring 46 meters long, 25 meters high and 25 meters wide, will detect and trace particles called muons expected to be produced in particle collisions in the CERN accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
British physicist Peter Higgs said earlier this year that he was certain the new device would find a particle named the "Higgs boson," which is named after him. Also dubbed the "God particle," its existence was claimed by Higgs as far back as 1964, but using only scientific calculations.
The legendary physicist said that he would be very puzzled if the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider will not find his namesake particle. Another team of researchers based at Fermilab in Chicago are also searching for it. They are using the Tevatron accelerator, currently the most powerful in the world, but its detection and data processing capabilities are nearly obsolete.
The project will look for signs of the Higgs particle, which is believed by some scientists to be responsible for giving other particles their mass. CERN said in its statement that its entire muon spectrometer system contains an area equal to three football fields, including 1.2 million independent electronic channels.
CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The United States is one of the Observers.
When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) begins smashing protons together this fall inside its 17-mile- (27-kilometer-) circumference underground particle racetrack near Geneva, Switzerland, it will usher in a new era not only of physics but also of computing.
Before the year is out, the LHC is projected to begin pumping out a tsunami of raw data equivalent to one DVD (five gigabytes) every five seconds. Its annual output of 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) will soon dwarf that of any other scientific experiment in history.
The challenge is making that data accessible to a scientist anywhere in the world at the execution of a few commands on her laptop. The solution is a global computer network called the LHC Computing Grid, and with any luck, it may be giving us a glimpse of the Internet of the future.
Once the LHC reaches full capacity sometime next year, it will be churning out snapshots of particle collisions by the hundreds every second, captured in four subterranean detectors standing from one and a half to eight stories tall.* It is the grid's job to find the extremely rare events—a bit of missing energy here, a pattern of particles there—that could solve lingering mysteries such as the origin of mass or the nature of dark matter.
A generation earlier, research fellow Tim Berners-Lee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) set out to create a global "pool of information" to meet a similar challenge. Then, as now, hundreds of collaborators across the planet were all trying to stay on top of rapidly evolving data from CERN experiments. Berners-Lee's solution became the World Wide Web.
But the fire hose of data that is the LHC requires special treatment. "If I look at the LHC and what it's doing for the future," said David Bader, executive director of high performance computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, "the one thing that the Web hasn't been able to do is manage a phenomenal wealth of data." Bandwidth alone is a major bottleneck. Bader said that for researchers running supercomputer simulations, it's cheaper to write the data to terabyte hard drives and ship them from one supercomputer center to another via FedEx than it is to transfer the gigantic data sets over the net.
The LHC Computing Grid handles data in stages, referred to as tiers. "Tier 0," located at CERN, is a massively parallel computer network composed of 100,000 of today's fastest CPUs that stores and manages the raw data (1s and 0s) from the experiments. It ships portions of data over dedicated 10-gigabit-per-second fiber-optic lines to 11 "Tier 1" sites across North America, Asia and Europe. Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., for example, receives data from the ALICE experiment, which collides lead ions.
From those sites the data is parceled out for easier access among 140 Tier 2 computer networks based at universities, government labs and even private companies around the globe. Tier 2 is where scientists will actually access data and perform the kinds of hands-on numerical analysis needed to translate the raw 1s and 0s into energies and trajectories of particles.
The crucial element that will make the data accessible, said project leader Ian Bird of CERN's information technology (IT) department in Geneva, is a type of software known as "middleware". The information a user wants may be spread among petabytes of data on different servers and stored in different formats. An open-source middleware platform called Globus is designed to gather that information seamlessly as though it's sitting in a folder on one's own desktop PC.
To unlock new secrets of the universe, Stephanie Majewski has to brush up on her French. The 27-year-old particle physicist is part of an international collaboration working on ATLAS, one of two experiments the size of small apartment buildings that will soon come online near Geneva, Switzerland.
Majewski, a postdoctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., knew when she got her PhD last year that she wanted to work on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the circular particle accelerator 17 miles (27 kilometers) in circumference straddling the Franco-Swiss border.
In coming months, the LHC will begin to slam together twin beams of protons at the highest energies ever achieved in a science experiment. ATLAS and CMS are the two main particle detectors designed to sift the debris, looking for the long-awaited Higgs boson and other elusive quarry.
"It's the place to be for particle physics," she says. "This may be the last large accelerator that turns on, at least for awhile." To make herself known in a collaboration of more than 1,700 people from 37 countries, Majewski will spend the next year living in Meyrin, Switzerland, close to ATLAS and the LHC at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
The U.S. has been home to the premier particle physics experiment, the Tevatron at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., for more than two decades. Now the LHC is taking up that mantle. Its imminent start-up—CERN plans to inject the first fully circulating beam through the LHC next week, followed in coming weeks by the first collisions—means a new phase in the lives of the nearly 2,000 U.S. researchers who are working on LHC experiments.
Not all of them will have to learn the French for, "no, black holes are not about to destroy the world." But as part of an international team, "the U.S. has to do its share," says Fermilab's Joel Butler, head of U.S. CMS operations.
The U.S. CMS group consists of about 130 engineers, technicians and computer scientists plus about 600 physicists and graduate students. Butler says he expects that at any given time, somewhere between 150 and 200 of them will be at CERN.
The LHC will only run for about seven months out of the year, from late spring to late December. Although the CMS detector is inaccessible during that time, a pair of control rooms—one underground, one above ground—contain much of the electronics for the experiment as well as computers for processing the data.
"Some problems can only be solved by going down into the underground control room and fiddling with the electronics or making replacements of failed components," Butler says. During the downtime from late December to March, workers may have to open the detector to fix problems or perform routine maintenance.
A typical experience for a postdoc might be to spend a year or two at CERN to speed communication within the experiment. Two other postdocs in Majewski's group are currently stationed at CERN, taking shifts in the ATLAS control room. "We have to watch to make sure that everyone in our group gets enough trips to CERN so that we all can attend meetings in person and stay connected to our collaborators," she says.
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) has four postdocs working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN, along with two PhD students, one staff scientist and one co-team leader, Su Dong, co-leader of SLAC's ATLAS team, says. He recommends that young researchers spend 1.5 to two years at CERN. Although there's an added cost to moving there, extended stays end up being cheaper than many shorter trips, he says.
Having eyes and ears at CERN was definitely an advantage this year, as the lab scrambled to get the collider up and running on schedule after years of delays. "It was really important to have people there who could run into someone in the hall and get an update," Majewski says.
Once the LHC begins colliding protons, researchers will have to learn how to interpret the raw data from detectors and translate it into real physics. That's where conversations over the lunch table come into play: Talking to someone on site who knows the detectors may provide the key to interpreting a funny looking piece of data, Su Dong says. Ideally, relationships built at CERN translate to improved communication after researchers return to the U.S. "Once you get to know them it's much easier to talk to them over a remote link," Butler says.
Of course, not all institutions can afford to send researchers to CERN or take them away from teaching duties. Another option for U.S. CMS researchers who can't make the trek to Switerland is to take a shift at a remote operations center (ROC) established at Fermilab. From there, researchers can monitor day-to-day operations of the experiment and work with CERN staff to keep it running smoothly.
Historically, CERN experiments have not had remote operations, Butler says. But the CMS experiment and its control rooms are located on the far side of the LHC, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the main CERN campus. So the lab created a second monitoring station to allow researchers to track the experiment from the main office.
That opened the door to remote access from the U.S., Butler says: "Once you're sending information 20 kilometers, the fact that you may want to send it 5,000 or 6,000 kilometers is no different, except for bandwidth."
Fermilab had already experimented with remote access for experiments such as CDF at the Tevatron and NuTeV, a neutrino experiment. In the case of CDF, researchers from Italy, Japan, Korea and other countries would take eight-hour shifts monitoring the data from their home institutes, says Fermilab's Kaori Maeshima, who oversaw those remote operations and was tasked four years ago with implementing it for CMS.
If researchers can only participate from CERN, the experiment isn't fully utilizing its resources, Maeshima says. Team members in other countries can take shifts during their daylight hours while their counterparts at CERN are asleep.
Fermilab completed the ROC in fall 2005. It is a small-scale version of the CMS control room at CERN, complete with a 24/7 video link, called "the window to CERN." Control of the experiment is limited to the aboveground CMS detector station. Monitoring the data can take place there, at CERN's remote station or at the ROC.
"What the ROC brings us here at [Fermilab] is a center where we can congregate and be able to easily work with our colleagues at CERN to solve whatever problems we run into as we take data," says David Mason, a Fermilab postdoc who uses the remote center to confirm that data is being processed and transferred in the right way within the LHC Computing Grid. "I can monitor and work with the data from Fermilab as well as I could from CERN," he says.
The same principles apply for other nations taking part in the collaboration. Butler says the CMS team is building a remote station at the DESY lab in Zeuthen, Germany, and has seven or eight other stations planned. The ATLAS collaboration is also making plans to establish remote operations.
"Remote operations [in particle physics] has been around for awhile, but it's never been embraced this early and in quite this depth by anyone," Butler says. "It's an exciting challenge."
Those who can take advantage of the opportunity to relocate to CERN are certainly happy to do so, if Majewski is any indication. Working on the LHC has made the world seem much smaller, she says. She considers the time abroad an added bonus of being at the forefront of particle physics. "I get to spend a year in Europe," she says. "All my friends are very jealous."
Protons and heavy ions of lead
Maximum beam energy
7 tera-electronvolts (TeV), or 7x10 12 electronvolts, per proton. All protons combined will have an energy equivalent to a person in a 1500 kg vehicle driving at about 25,000 km per hour.
Total number of magnets
Approximately 9300; number of large dipole magnets, which steer the beam around the ring: 1232. Each dipole magnet (photo to the right) is 14.3 meters long and weighs around 35 tons.
8.33 Tesla, or about 200,000 times the strength of the Earth's magnetic field, at beam energy of 7 TeV.
The LHC will operate at 1.9 Kelvin (about 300 degrees Celsius below room temperature), colder than outer space. The beampipe's ultrahigh vacuum of 10-10 Torr (about 3 million molecules per cm3 ) is approximately equivalent to the vacuum pressure at an altitude above Earth of 1000 km. For comparison, the International Space Station's orbital altitude is 380 km.
The total length of the superconducting wire for the LHC, the world's largest superconducting installation, is 250,000 km, enough to go 6.8 times around the equator. It consists of 6300 strands of niobium-titanium filaments, embedded in copper (photo right). Each filament is about one tenth of the thickness of a human hair. When ultracold, the wire conducts electricity without resistance.
At their top energy of 7 TeV, the particles in the LHC will travel at 0.999999991 the speed of light. Each proton will travel around the 27-kilometer ring 11,000 times per second. Collisions will occur so often (up to one billion times a second) that particles from one collision will still be traveling through a detector when the next collision happens at the detector 's center.
The LHC experiments together will generate more than 10 million gigabytes of data every year–a stack of CDs 20 km high. LHC scientists have created a grid computing system in which more than 100 small and large computing centers share the responsibility for storing, processing, and analyzing the data. PC farms such as this one at CERN (photo right) will provide the computing power.
The CERN Control Centre (photo bottom right) combines the control functions for the accelerators, the cryogenic system, and the technical infrastructure. It has 39 work places.
ATLAS 1800+ members from more than 150 universities and laboratories in 35 countries. The ATLAS cavern could hold the nave of Notre Dame Cathedral.
2000+ members from 180 institutions in 38 countries. The CMS magnet is the largest solenoid ever built, and has a maximum field strength of 4 Tesla–approximately 100,000 times the strength of the Earth's magnetic field.
1000+ members from 98 institutions in 29 countries. The ALICE Time Projection Chamber, a cylinder 5 meters in diameter and 5 meters in length, has approximately 560,000 read-out channels.
550+ members from almost 50 institutions in 15 countries. The LHCb experiment searches for CP-violation, the asymmetry in the behavior of matter and antimatter, in B mesons.