Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Large Hadron Collider is at work!

The news is everywhere, and very exciting, indeed, as the world's largest atom smasher hurls proton beams at a mind-numbing energy level of 7 trillion electron volts.  I can't fathom what that really means. The announcement on NPR's Morning Edition was positively jubilant yesterday morning, and today's LA Times gives an account the day after. The discussion of dark energy, dark matter, Higgs Boson, and possibly teeny tiny black holes that will exist for mere fractions of a second is fascinating. 

If you'd like an easy to understand, very calm visual explanation of what is going on inside the 27 kilometer underground ring (big enough to encircle Chicago), take a few minutes to visit with Northwestern associate professor Michael Schmit [video]. 

We have books, too (of course!), that will teach much more.  Here are two to start with:
The quantum frontier : the large hadron collider / Don Lincoln ; foreword by Leon Lederman. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009

Deep down things : the breathtaking beauty of particle physics / Bruce A. Schumm. Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004

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