Over the past few months, the Large Hadron Collider has been ramming protons and lead ions together in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of its particle detectors. After each collision, some of the newly produced particles zoom away together like a school of fish, in a scientific puzzle called the "ridge effect," rather than bouncing off in all directions.
When heavy ions like lead collide with each other, the ensuing particles are borne off by a drop of plasma, but it's unclear if that's what's happening when lead ions collide with lighter protons. The results from LHC's tests, submitted to Physics Letters B last week, suggest that it's the same effect. If accurate, the teensy drop of plasma formed would be the smallest drop of lab-formed liquid ever.
The collision of two heavy ion nuclei creates a hot, dense meld of quark–gluon plasma, a "primordial soup" that may have existed just after the Big Bang.
Symmetry has a good explanation for how the phenomenon, called collective flow, might work:
Collective flow of particles causes the ridge effect in collisions of larger nuclei, like lead and gold. CMS researchers ran a short (four hour) test of proton-lead collisions in September, and were surprised to find evidence that collective flow might exist there, too. A longer test began in January 2013 and continued for several weeks.
Previously, protons were thought to be much too small to support quark-gluon plasma, but this study provides more evidence for collective flow in proton-lead collisions, with correlations in the movements of both pairs of particles and groups of four.
Although I find the LHC-technology amazing, and its results incredibly interesting, I don't like it. Don't get me wrong, I love science but this machine is stepping on some dangerous ground and playing with matter like a naïve kid and who's igniting matches in a dry forest … bound to set something on fire. There's the reference of some very very very rare cosmic rays who have far more energy than what's being smashed together at the LHC, and thus it should be all safe; but these particles collide at a far lower frequency, and are certainly not creating all kinds of flocking particle-droplets that hang around new incoming beams of particles who are colliding. Think of a vaporizer in a combustion engine … but here on a sub-atomic level. Who says protons aren't combustable and can't release their energy in a chain reaction. I see Supernova's of combusted solar-systems everywhere in the sky, don't see why the same thing wouldn't happen to us, certainly now the numbers are dropping in of how many earthish exoplanets there are. At the end it was curiosity that killed cat ...
Protons as collective mass, which is transferred as an effect by local proximity and speed limit of flow medium. Cool. Now what does that say about all our 'missing' universal mass?
Chelle12, you are way too easily scared. Unlike playing with matches around dry kindle, which is known to be able to start a fire, smashing particles at high speed is not known to start fires or chain reactions of energy release.
For the fun of it, let's say that you are correct and some new discovery greater than nuclear weapons is found and the Eath is destroyed...so what? No human is going to live for ever any way. You see my point is don't be so scared of death or of science trying to discover break through in knowledge.
A vaporizer produces mist of humidity (water) and inside a combustion engine (burning gas)would merely prevent the engine from ignition. I don't understand your analogy
@dobestpossible, why do you start talking about being scared, I analyze the situation and look at it rationally, just like you or anybody else would approach any experiment, if there's a risk than so be it, well I think there might be a risk. Anyway, what if Earth is destroyed ... wouldn't it be better to be not so dumb to blow ourselves to pieces, come on, your argument makes no sense. Regarding the vaporisation of fuel, its a method of distributing it in a refined way so it can easily lit up ... well what you're doing at the LHC is similar, cutting up matter onto the point that you have something that is very unstable (flammable), now the question is can you only break protons apart, by smashing them into each other, or could you also make them decompose and break up, when an extra Quark or Meson enters the Proton's inner mechanism and shakes it up; if so let's say that you have a large amount (a cloud) of these drops hanging around, and domino-wise they suddenly all start to break open, spreading out, just like how a single *spark* ignites the fuel in your car's engine; and by doing so disrupting the inner processes of a large percentage of atoms at one area, who in turn burst open (decompose); then you have a scenario where combusting protons generate in turn a fresh amount of these drops who spread out ... and the beginning of an unstoppable chain reaction at a sub-atomic level, releasing enormous amounts of energy ... The overall question is; how stable are protons?
Is the Large Hadron Collider something that only collides large hadrons, and not smaller ones? Or is it a hadron collider that happens to be large?
@Chelle12: As far as we know, protons are the one of the most stable things in the universe. Do even the hearts of stars break them up? If some sort of particle were capable of causing a chain reaction of destroying protons, how would the Earth survive 4.5 million years without encountering one.
@AGReilly, Yes, it only collides Hadrons, hence its name. Its predecessor was LEP, you can find information on Wiki:
<i>"The Large Electron–Positron Collider (LEP) was one of the largest particle accelerators ever constructed. ... At the end of 2000, LEP was shut down and then dismantled in order to make room in the tunnel for the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)."</i>
The particles in LEP have gone faster than those now in the LHC, but didn't had the large amount of luminossity that's been generated now.
@AGReilly, The LHC generates temperatures (pressure) more than 100.000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun, concentrated within a minuscule space. Hence that's why the protons do break apart, there and not in the core of the sun.
Regarding your second question; like I said in my previous comment, its a matter of frequency an density, super high energy cosmic rays only come flying in a couple of times per year over the whole surface of the Earth, in the LHC the frequency is in the billions for an area that is a few cubic centimeters. Here are some numbers:
In nature there are about a thousand Cosmic ray collisions of a few GeV’s (1 GeV= 10^9 electron Volt) per second per m^2. In LHC it are about one 1 billion per second per cm^2. That’s 1.000.000 times more for an area which is 10.000 smaller, it is a density & frequency difference of 10 billion.
At the end of last year we humans have even generated collisions on this planet, that were an other 1000 times more intense, with energies of 8 TeV (1 TeV= 10^12 eV). These collisions are in nature of course less frequent per m^2 while the density & frequency at the LHC of 10 billion per cm^2 was maintained. (Check out the spectrum, top right on the Wiki-page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray)
... and just like a match that's lighted isn't just one single *spark* but millions as you rub it, or just like in a combustion engine, its the high frequency that lights it all up.
The first picture looks a bit like the inside of the Tardis.