Court allows LHC scientists to proceed, first particles observed
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Court allows LHC scientists to proceed, first particles observed

Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – A request for an injunction against the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN has been denied by the European Court of Human Rights. A private initiative formed by scientists claims that the sheer energy delivered by the LHC could produce uncontrollable new particles as well as micro black holes that could lead to the destruction of Earth.

 As CERN gets ready to fire up its LHC officially on September 10, the European Court of Human Rights has shut down probably the final hurdle that could have prevented or at least delayed the launch of the most powerful particle provider ever built. European chaos researchers argued that humans do not have the experience yet to control particles that could be created by the collider.

It is generally expected that LHC experiments may reveal the elusive Higgs boson, which would allow physicists to make progress within the Grand Unified Theory, connecting the forces of electromagnetism, strong force, weak force and gravity – and explain why gravity is a relatively weak force when compared to the other three. However, there is also a certain consent that collisions at unexplored energies could also create magnetic monopoles, supersymmetric particles and micro black holes.

Especially micro black holes have been used to paint a scary scenario, as some scientists suggest that stable micro black holes could remain on Earth, multiply and eventually “swallow” the planet. Other scientists, however, described such theories as “wild speculation”.

In the meantime, the LHC has already been in partial use. While the first proton beam is planned to be circulating through the 17 mile ring at near-light speed, the University of Liverpool’s LHCb VELO detector has recorded the first hits from tracks of particles on August 22. It apparently was the first test of what will be four “massive” experiments.

The LHC will enable proton beams that carry an energy of 7 tera electron volts (TeV), more than seven times the energy that was created by the Tevatron, in Batavia, Illinois. The energy level of 7 TeV is about comparable to an average car that is travelling at 1000 mph, or 2.3 trillion 3 volt batteries chained together (for a total length of about 4.3 million miles.) One lap through the 17 mile LHC tunnel will take a proton only 90 micro seconds, meaning that a beam that is active for 10 hours will travel the distance of about 6.2 billion miles, which is about twice the distance between Earth and Neptune.

Scientists expect about 20 collisions when the 200 billion beam particles cross. However, due to the high speed of the beam and the fact that the LHC will cross the beams 30 times per second, there will be 600 million collisions per second at a rate of 600 MHz on average. The difficult task is not only to manage this extremely high and potentially very destructive energy level, but to also read the results of the particle collisions. It is nearly impossible for scientists to capture data of 600 million collisions per second with today’s computing technology.