CERN's Large Hadron Collider Going Colder than Outer Space
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July 22, 2008

CERN's Large Hadron Collider Going Colder than Outer Space

Outer_space_big Based underneath the line that separates France and Switzerland, the Large Hadron Collider has become the center of scientific endeavor for the general public to focus on. First prophesied to bring ruin to the whole universe (or at least that little bit that surrounds us), the LHC has now been deemed safe. Subsequently, knowing that it won’t blast us all (or suck us all) into a black hole, the LHC has begun commissioning.

Set to have its first particle beams injected in August of this year, the LHC must first bring its temperature down, so as to obtain the highest possible magnetic fields while consuming the least amount of power.

In other words, the over 1600 magnets that make up the 27 kilometer long tunnel must be brought to low temperatures so that the electrical current being channeled along its length experience zero resistance and very little power loss.

Currently, six out of the eight sectors making up the LHC have been brought down to between 4.5 and 1.9 Kelvin, which equals out to be around -270C and -454F. The commissioning cooling will be complete when all eight sectors reach 1.9 Kelvin. For comparison, the temperature in deep space measures in at about 2.7 Kelvin.

Needless to say, given the time that it takes to cool these objects down, and the delays that could occur if a mistake is made, the LHC teams are meticulous. "We have a very systematic process for the commissioning of this machine, based on very carefully designed procedures prepared with experience we have gathered on prototypes," said Roberto Saban, the LHC's head of hardware commissioning.

"Our motto is: no short cuts... exchanging a single component which today is cold, is like bringing it back from the Moon. It takes about three to four weeks to warm it up. Then it takes one or two weeks to exchange. Then it needs three to six weeks to cool down again. So, you see, it is three months if we make a mistake."

Obviously one of the most high profile searches that the LHC will be conducting is for the fabled god-particle, the Higgs Boson. The discovery of this particle would go a long way towards the search for a Grand Unified Theory, which seeks to unify three of the four known fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, leaving out only gravity.

But there are other discoveries hoping to be made through the whizzing and crashing particles bouncing around inside the LHC; questions such as “are there extra dimensions indicated by theoretical gravitons?” and “what is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?”

Posted by Josh Hill.


Do you know what you get when you mix high energy colliders with Professor Otto Rossler's charged micro black hole theory?

Answer: a golf ball

The claim that deep space is 2.7 K is a bit misleading. This value comes from the temperature of the microwave background radiation, as derived from its blackbody shape. At the time the photons were emitted (a few hundred thousand years after the big bang), the universe was much hotter, but the expansion of the universe since then has redshifted the photons and caused the observed temperature to decrease. So to be specific, 2.7 K is the temperature a blackbody would have to have in order to match the spectrum of the microwave background radiation as observed at the present time.

The actual temperature of space really depends on where you are, and how dense the inter-stellar or inter-galactic medium is, but it can range from a few Kelvin to tens of thousands of Kelvins in really hot gas.

Wow dude, thats gotta be pretty darned cold man. Why is it so cold in outter space? Why cant we get some of that cold here?


Your temperatures seem to be inaccurate

-453 F / ~-269 C / ~4 K
-452 F / ~-269 C / ~4 K
-451 F / ~-268 C / ~5 K
-450 F / ~-268 C / ~5 K

If the processes used with LHC involve superconductivity, then they'll need to be VERY, VERY cold. I'm not an expert on the subject, but that's my understanding.

Jim Jones why can't you talk all smart like the other guys....:P

The reason they're making it so cold is that some materials lose almost all electrical resistance when cooled to a few Kelvin.

Is this the wet t-shirt blog??

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