After years of construction and months of hype, the world’s largest particle accelerator goes online today
Measuring the God Particle: The electromagnetic and hadron calorimeters [left] make up the center of the 49-foot-high, 69-foot-long Compact Muon Solenoid, an instrument designed to probe the nature of mass itself by finding the elusive Higgs boson particle. Scientists believe the Higgs boson causes mass to exist, and have nicknamed
it “the God particle.” These calorimeters measure the energy of particles that fly off after a collision. Enrico Sachetti
If you somehow managed to avoid seeing the comic
, listening to the rap
or reading anything in the all out media blitz
, then let me be the first to tell you that earlier today the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most power particle accelerator, began operation. Scientists hope that the experiments conducted in the $9 billion dollar accelerator will help them discover the mysterious Higgs boson. The Higgs boson, colloquially referred to as the “God particle,” is the hypothetical particle that imbues matter with mass, and finding it (or not finding it) will have profound implications on the world of physics.
Luckily, for those just becoming aware of this momentous event and those wanting to brush up on their LHC knowledge before tackling a cocktail party tonight, Popular Science has you covered. First, start by taking a virtual tour of the accelerator, courtesy of Peter McCready.