On Wednesday, September 10, the Large Haldron Collider will be fired. It has costed $7.75 billion. But that is not the most important thing about it. The more important is that some of the greatest scientists in the world are recreating the conditions of Big Bang.
More importantly, it will try and detect Higgs Boson, or ‘God’ particle. Why is it so important? Because Higgs Boson permeates EVERYTHING in the Universe. And this particle also gives everything its mass!
The Higgs boson particle is one quantum component of the theoretical Higgs Field. In empty space, the Higgs field has an amplitude different from zero, i.e., a non-zero vacuum expectation value. The existence of this non-zero vacuum expectation plays a fundamental role: it gives mass to every elementary particle which has mass, including the Higgs boson itself.
It will create several black holes – which some believe could possibly suck in the earth and the Universe as we know it if the experiment goes awry. People are looking at various sources from Bible to Nostradamus to say that world will come to an end because of the LHC. And there have been many death threats to the scientists as well.
The scientists on the project believe that these black holes decay quickly so there are no potential issues.
This is a great engineering and scientific feat! And not only that – it is a great computing feat!
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.
Even the internet was born from CERN.
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