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Europeans to recreate Big Bang

by Archives September 16, 2008

Scientists turned on the largest, and most expensive, machine in the world on Wednesday. Their goal is to recreate the conditions of the universe’s early moments, hoping to learn more about its formation.
Located underneath the French-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider will accelerate protons, tiny sub-atomic particles, to nearly the speed of light.
The machine uses powerful magnets to accelerate the particles as they travel along its 27-km length.
The magnetic field in the machine is so powerful that “if you leave a screw on the ground while the experiment is running, it will fly off like a bullet,” said Ismail Turan, a post-doctoral fellow in theoretical physics at Concordia.
Colliding these protons will create an explosion of even smaller particles, some of which assemble for a fraction of a second before disappearing forever.
One particle that scientists are hoping to see is the Higgs Boson, the only particle described in the Standard Model of physics that has never been observed.
Proof of its existence will help validate the Standard Model and explain how other particles acquire mass. A failure to find it will force researchers to find a new hypothesis.
Scientists also think the machine could be used to create miniature black holes – objects so dense that their gravitational field prevents even light from escaping.
And although some scientists believe that these micro black holes could potentially grow larger, causing the end of the world, this view is dismissed by most physicists.
“Of course there will be mini black holes. In fact, they’re not even [technically] black holes, but the probability that these black holes will be large enough to have any effect is about as likely as those same black holes turning into flowers,” said Turan.

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