View Full Version : LHC for Dummies

07-07-2009, 03:04 PM
Ok guys, well the calender is turning and they're about 4 months out from the estimated turn-on date of the Large Hadron Collider, which as of now has quite the false reputation of being the world-ending, black-hole-creating device. Seeing as it took me about 4 months to figure out just what the hell is so special about this huge facility, so I figured I'd better start now, to decrease the rampant speculation about the end of the world.

First of all... What is a hadron? Well, protons and neutrons are actually both a type of hadrons. A hadron is just a classification given to certain sub-atomic particles that interact using strong force, there's not a lot that's truly special about them, they're literally everywhere.

The big deal with the LHC is what hadrons are made up of, quarks. Quarks are particles that make up sub-atomic particles. However, you can't interact with one quark alone, due to a characteristic of quarks, called color confinement. Color confinement, in its simplest form, means that a quark cannot exist without other quarks interacting with it. These quarks form together in small groups of 2-5 to form various hadrons, and cannot be observed in a singular state.

The LHC does something very special with these hadrons and the quarks that they're composed of, it divides the hadrons, separating the quarks from each other. Now, this happens a lot in nature, and when a few quarks leave a particle, they simply recombine in other particles, possibly changing a neutron into a proton through beta radiation. The LHC, however, divides them in a vacuum, under predictable circumstances, rather than randomly observing particles decay (as watching one particle decay in a vacuum could literally take forever to yield an observation). This will allow scientists to study a very rare finding which is known little about, called hadronization.

Hadronization is a phenomenon where a quark separates from other quarks which form a hadron, but has no other quarks to interact with, and cannot exist in that state. The quark then seeks the most energy efficient solution to it's problem, which is often returning to the other quarks that it left and reforming in the hadron, but on occasion, the quark has too much energy opposing it from returning (like a high, near-light-speed collision), that it somehow becomes more energy efficient to spontaneously create other quarks. It's theorized that these other quarks are annihilated at another point within the many dimensions that are predicted by string theory (one of which is time), justifying their spontaneous appearance.

Essentially the LHC will be taking 2 particles which cannot be divided any further, and forcing them to divide at speeds where they cannot recombine. This will cause the 3 quarks within each hadron to spontaneously create up to 4 more quarks to make up a new hadron, causing the scientists to observe 6 particles traveling in a vacuum away from the collision. From our perspective, moving forward in time at a given interval, it would appear that we are creating matter, when in fact we are creating a hole in some dimension (space, time, etc) and causing particles to move through this hole. This is where the "small black hole" misconception came from, since many people theorize that black holes MAY be similar to holes within dimensions.

That's what the LHC actually will test/do.

TL;DR? I really don't think I could make it any simpler than that... sorry. :(

07-07-2009, 03:18 PM
tldr but i thought they already turned it on low settings and it broke or something, so they had to fix it. they turning it back on in 4 months?

07-07-2009, 04:35 PM
All they did was run a proton stream through it. The magnets were messed up, so it's off till October.

07-07-2009, 05:20 PM
maybe i'm thinking of something way different but is this the big circle tube thingy that speeds up atoms till they crash and they like scan to see what stuff is around and what happens because of them crashing so fast?

07-07-2009, 05:23 PM
no, the other giant circle thing :dodgy:


07-07-2009, 05:43 PM
haha ok just making sure. thats what i thought i remembered reading an article on in science class...

07-08-2009, 06:54 AM

07-08-2009, 03:04 PM
This whole thing is rather stupid. For such smart people, you'd think we could come up with something better than quarks and **** for increments. :rolleyes: It's almost as bad as measuring air capacity in moles. Who the heck came up with RODENTS to measure air capacity??? Scientists! *throws hands in the air*

I get the concept and all, but it still seems rather stupid to be wasting so much resources on something that seems to have a high probability to not work properly.

07-08-2009, 03:54 PM
no, the other giant circle thing :dodgy:


That must be the secret location of the Ark?