Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cross The Streams

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CERN's Large Hadron Collider has successfully come online! With a circumference of 27 kilometres, this is the world's largest particle accelerator. Located deep underground near the Swiss-French border, scientists will be able to shoot protons at mind-bogglingly high speeds and make them collide. One of the goals of these experiments is to find that elusive Higg's boson, the elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model but has never been observed.

For a nice cliff-notes overview of the LHC, there's an ongoing series of comics by Jorge Cham over at Piled Higher and Deeper about his trip there (Part 1 starts here). Also, check out the highly amusing LHC rap video.

The title of the this blog entry comes from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters", which incidentally featured high energy proton streams being used to catch ghosts (yeah, I know, fake science). Interestingly, the character Dr. Egon Spengler warns against colliding the streams ("don't cross the streams!") because it would be "bad". However, they eventually have to cross the streams at the end to defeat the Big Bad (spoiler, sorry).

To the team at CERN, good luck!

The photo above is derived from The Large Hadron Collider by Sarvagya Kochak, distributed under the Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic).

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