Large Hadron Collider
When I had first stumbled upon the Large Hadron Collider(LHC) about two years ago while lurking the depths of the internet; I was presented with pictures of a large metal cylinder hanging in what appeared to be an old prison remodeled into a scientific workplace. I had later learned that this picture was but a mere section of this behemoth of a particle accelerator. The entire synchrotron; which is the particular design of this particle accelerator, is 17 miles in circumference, sits below the earth as deep as 574ft, and is located at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. With a project of this magnitude, one would already ponder the cost of such a feat; that cost would be an astonishing amount of money equaling around 9 billion US Dollars, easily making this project one of the most expensive scientific research creations of all time. In my discussion of the LHC, I do not wish to elaborate on the operational physics of the construct nor do I plan on going too in-depth on the subject of particle physics, as I am not a physicist: my goal is to touch on the significance of its creation and perhaps provide some modern insight on the advancements in technology, philosophy, and physics: and how they were all conceived through mathematics.(Overbye, Dennis)
Constructing something as expensive, complex, and labor intensive as the LHC makes the mind ponder gwhy?h What could possibly make this thing worth the investment? What kind of information, if any, could this contraption bring to light? From what I have gathered, scientist hope that experiments conducted within the LHC will help them answer some of the most fundamental questions in physics and even heralding a revolution in our understanding of the universe. While many of the big questions that scientist believe the LHC will answer require a physics degree to even slightly comprehend, I would summarize their intentions as attempting to gather more information to apply to current theories and knowledge in order to either tie some loose ends or disregard them all together.
So what exactly is a Universe and how is it made? Space, time, and matter; everything originated in the Big Bang, an incommensurably huge explosion that happened 13.7 billion years ago. The Universe was then incredibly hot and dense but only a few moments after, as it started to cool down, the conditions were just right to give rise to the building blocks of matter –? in particular, the quarks and electrons of which we are all made. A few millionths of a second later, quarks aggregated to produce protons and neutrons, which in turn were bundled into nuclei three minutes later. Then, as the Universe continued to expand and cool, things began to happen more slowly. It took 380,000 years for the electrons to be trapped in orbits around nuclei, forming the first atoms. These were mainly helium and hydrogen, which are still by far the most abundant elements in the Universe. Another 1.6 million years later, gravity began to take control as clouds of gas began to form stars and galaxies. Since then heavier atoms, such as carbon, oxygen and iron, of which we are all made, have been continuously ecookedf in the hearts of the stars and stirred in with the rest of the Universe each time a star comes to a spectacular end as a supernova. (CERN - Recipe for a Universe) This was all very enlightening to me, I can think of all kinds of tales and myths relating to creation which man has come up with over the years, but perhaps the most scientifically accurate one is a song; gWe are all made of starsh by Moby.
One possibility I found particularly interesting; however unlikely it may be, is that the LHC may clue us in to the existence of other dimensions. String theory intriguingly suggests that six more dimensions exist, but are somehow hidden from our senses. They could be all around us, but curled up to be so tiny that we have never...