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Epic Event: CERN's Large Hadron Collider Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'

_49844027_ev4796_rphi CERN's enormous Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons on 7 November, creating temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva.

Up until now, the world's highest-energy particle accelerator has been colliding protons, in an $ multi-billion effortto uncover mysteries of the Universe's formation.The LHC is smashing together particles in a bid to unlock the secrets of formation of our Universe. Proton collisions could help spot the elusive Higgs boson particle and signs of new physical laws, such as a framework called supersymmetry.

The collider is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border located an average of 100m underground. The circumference of the LHC is 26 659 meters, with a total of 9300 magnets inside. The magnets are cooled to an operating temperature of -271.3°C (1.9 K) - colder than deep space

Over for the next four weeks, scientists at the LHC will concentrate on analysing the data obtained from the lead ion collisions, with the hope to learn more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.

_49845431_icon-mag-2005-002 One of the accelerator's experiments, ALICE, has been specifically designed to smash together lead ions, but the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments have also switched to the new mode.
Quarks and gluons are sub-atomic particles - some of the building blocks of matter. In the state known as quark-gluon plasma, they are freed of their attraction to one another. This plasma is believed to have existed just after the Big Bang. By studying the plasma, physicists hoped to learn more about the so-called strong force - the force that binds the nuclei of atoms together and that is responsible for 98% of their mass.

After the LHC finishes colliding lead ions, it will go back to smashing together protons once again.

Casey Kazan via BBC News


Interesting. I'm no expert in this field so forgive me if my questions seems silly.

Having created temperatures even higher than those of the sun, can we use some of the discoveries of this experiment to develop a feasible nuclear fusion technology?

I'm kinda doing a small research on He-3 and nuclear fusion and I was wondering if this mini big-bang experiment might have some connection to it.

@Lorenzo. Unfortunately these types of experiments don't really translate over to fusion, although when I think about it I guess quite a bit of the technology is transferable such as the magnet technology.

Anyway, the problem with fusion isn't creating these temperatures, the problem is with containing the plasma, which is what ITER will be all about. Actually a fun thing to look into is the temperatures we need here on earth to produce fusion vs the temperatures of the sun. Due to the suns mass, and hence gravitational pull, the sun doesn't need as much initial energy to get the fusion going, whereas here we need quite a bit more.

I don't understand how this is a "big bang".

I stepped on it accidentally. I feel sooo bad about that.....

No one really knows what the universe was like in the seconds after the Big Bang, if it really occurred at all. Thus, how would anyone have a clue if this experiment produced the conditions right after the Big Bang expansion? All these scientists can do is make a guess, and then see if this experiment results in what they guessed.

youre right... noone knows... thats why we shouldnt try to find out

Without science, we would be living in the dark ages.

What would be real nice to learn from the experiments is, a propulsion system that does not involve fossil fuels and can propel a ship quickly though space for many years. Otherwise known as an unlimited power source.

Sujen: An unlimited power source? A lofty goal for sure, but not realistic.

First let's get better use out of high-efficiency propulsion such as Ion Thrusters, currently in use on deep space probes and satellites. Those are sweet.

And Duran: ... really? Really?

Interesting enough, if a tad undergraduate and rife with 10$ words. Agreed Pete, article doesn't draw adequate connection to Big Bang... simply provides interesting and nearly unrelated evidence.

oops, Kyle

To what end is this expensive system of experiments?
Will it help find cures for terminal illness, will it stop poverty?
Will it bring world peace?
I understand the desire of humanity to find our roots, but surely, the creation of the universe some 13 billion years ago is a bit extreme.
As far as my very limited knowledge extends, I see a "big-bang" experiment to recreate the beginnings to be similar to re-formatting a hard drive.
If it works properly then we all get reset to the beginning again! Why do we really need to know where we came from, more we should be looking at where we are going.
BUT: What was here BEFORE the big bang? Now theres a thought.

Oh and what if, in our own little universe, we are just the product of some much larger experiment,and our "universe is really just a small cloud of ionised gases in an experiment in a lab outside that which we know, and so on, and so on, and in these small pockets of gases we create is an entire universe with worlds lasting fractions of seconds in our time line, yet an eternity in its own time and space getting smaller and smaller, .......

It's not just about figuring out how it all started.. it's about understanding more about the basic framework that underlies all of existence. At least that's my understanding of the search for the Higgs-Boson (the proton collisions, not necessarily these lead ions?).

@Abuelo, I'm sure people said the same thing about Newton, or Maxwell, or Einstein, or Quantum Theory. Just because you can't think of a use RIGHT NOW, doesnt mean that it won't be useful. And its not as if the government of Switzerland goes "hmm.... we have a couple of billion dollars... should we use it to feed starving children, or build a sweet particle accelerator?" There is TONS and TONS of money spent on the aims you stated above... comparatively, the LHC is a drop in the bucket

Also, the analogy to re-formatting a hard drive is false in totality. Just in every way possible.
And about why we need to know where we came from? Because if you don't know what the past was like, how do you plan to make ANY predictions about the future? If you only have data about THIS instant, i.e. stock prices, weather patterns, etc, do you think that you can predict anything about the future?

In my opinion the experiments in the LHC have nothing to do with the Universe's formation. Their purpose is to find more information about subatomic particles. These experiments may confirm or deny some theoretical theories of physical structure of those particles.

The statement that a high energy collision of lead ions is a "mini-Big Bang" has the same truthfulness as Dick Cheney statement that the invasion of Iraq was needed to destroy weapons of mass destruction in that country. It is sad that such lies are used shamelessly in public. But people were lying for their own benefit from the beginning of human kind.

I think gravity is the one thing that we understand the least and which has the biggest impact on our daily lives. They should design an experiment to study gravity.

What was there before the Big Bang? I'll tell ya; a singularity.

Apparently the universe is still expanding. However, at some point the universe will stop expanding, and start contracting. We're already seeing this with black holes - stars which have collapsed under the gravitational effect of their own mass.

Sooner or later, the combined gravitational effects of the universe will act upon itself. Stars will collide with stars. Black holes will collide with black holes. The mass of the universe will contract and collapse in upon itself until all that is left is one single point.

Which will explode, and the whole process will begin again. Entropy and reincarnation, people.

Typo... 2nd Paragraph, 1st sentence: " an $ multi-billion effortto uncover..."

Mike Byron,

The universe is expanding and that expansion is constantly ACCELERATING. There's not enough gravity in the universe for it to ever contract in on itself, which is why many physicists now subscribe to the "Big Rip" theory of the death of the universe.

And Kyle, this is not a "Big Bang", it's just journalism. If anything it's a "Hot Little Bang".

Dear Custodians of Knowledge… GREETINGS`

All Of Cosmos Is Progeny Of the imponderable omnijective Fuild...
- Time is the unknown meta-subjective state of 'Cosmic-fluid'
- Light is the known meta-objective state of 'Stellar-fluid' and
- Water & Air is the meta-physical state of 'Global-fluid'.

Like any other beings unto all of existence in domain of stars & stellars, we humans too are made of certain "permutation & combination of the Tithons" which I extrapolate it to be addressed as "Astral-fluid".

This encouraging pathway is a new-physics “Para-Physics” in its nascency, which is indeed a distinct presents of ASTRAL SCIENCE postulated by a theory called "Cosmic Efficacy & Tithonicity" …and the same is an ELIXIR to all of Knowledge.

Astral Science extrapolates to explicate its description...

- Science is Knowledge of the Known ; The Logics`
- Knowledge of the Unknown is God ; The Vision`
- Mathematics is the exquisite mother of Science.
- Myth is the esoteric & mystic father of Science.

In compendium, the relation between the Mind and the Objective-world (matter) is called as Para`Physics, whereas the relation between the Mind and the meta-subjective world (consciousness) is called as Omnijectivism. The combo of both is the arena of Astral Science.


Fabrica` of Cosmos` is all because of the reticulation (network) of Space-Time web as a arcane weave of Tithons, the source element of all energy that dominates the orderliness of cosmic efficacy and tithonicity through its permutation and combination.

The most imponderable state of quark-gluon plasma that serves to augment all of dynamic mechanism weaving the Reticulation to configure and conform all of the Cosmos unto Global truths, a para-being of thermal valuity hosting source of energy, is postulated as Tithons`

The pre-quantum-state of the "Quadri-morphic PHOTON", having in-formation of Heat (californium) Electric (waves), Light (frequency) & Tithonic (chemical-action) as vibrational energy... is the progeny of TITHONS.

Permutation & Combination of Tithons as One Unit to Work is an ERGON, that interminably beget a working quantum unit of dimorphic element known as ERG (unit of work as Joule) and DYNE (unit of work as Newton) having its prolificacy as processed unit of working as ERGY... which in turn host the quadri-morphic role of Calorie (heat), Ampere (electric), Candela (light-luminous) and Molecule (chemical-compound).

The source of energy `Tithons` that are working ingredients and hue in light that propagates the process to augment & generate the chemical building blocks at quantum state of astral-fluid as an imponderable state of quark-gluon plasma that serves to augment all of dynamic mechanism weaving the Reticulation to configures and conform all of the Cosmos unto Global truths, and the infinitude for making all of cells and cellular-world, including all states of amino-acids, proteins, fats, membranes, nucleosome & nucleotides to build a gene & genome into all of extant beings…

Greetings... God Bless All... Just Divine`

(gnosiologist : exegete : astral'scientist)

What the hell is a mini big bang? Isn't that just a bang then?

Charanjeet, please.. just stop.

It blows my mind every time I seer small minded, short sighted people saying "Why bother, we dont need this information" or those handicapped by religion who are worried something might contradict their beliefs. Why do we need to do these things? Because the more we understand about particle physics, the more we advance as a civilisation. If we listened to the religious nay payers, or those that are simple too simple minded to understand, se would still be stuck in the dark ages.

Do you want better power sources? Better medical imaging that can save lives? Millions of other advances that help humanity? Then we will need a better understanding of particle physics. What the universe is made of, how it functions, causes and effects, actions and reactions. Just became YOU don't understand it doesn't make it pointless.

How is this a bang anything? They are starting with something. Isn't the premise of the Big Bang that there was nothing? Then there was a quantum fluctuation, whatever that is, the bang occurred, and voila!

To create any size bang, they need to start with nothing.

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