Thursday, August 7, 2008

Science: First Test of World's Largest Particle Accelerator Scheduled Sept 10th

Particle accelerators are a curious paradox: Build large to study small. Big bang, dark matter. Poetic science, I love you.

The first attempt to circulate a beam in the newly built Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be made on September 10th. The LHC is the largest particle accelerator in the world (17 miles / 27 km) and is located 100 m below ground surface in Switzerland and France.

Check the CERN site for a countdown clock to the test and learn more about what they hope to discover using the LHC.

Or you can just watch this rap video from some crazy physics kids:

If this only leaves you wanting more, here's two books on physics written for folks like you and me:

Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson
A compilation of essays written by the director of the Hayden Planetarium and published in Natural History Magazine. Very approachable writing style, using pop culture references to tie fictional concepts to science facts and plausible theories.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
This one takes the science and math to a more challenging level, but it is still understandable and not nearly as difficult a read as Brief History of Time by Hawking. (Has anyone EVER finished that book? I call bullshit. You physicists don't count.)

Photo credit: Installation of the world's largest silicon tracking detector. (Michael Hoch, © CERN)

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