25 April 2015


One hundred meters or almost 328 ft underground, there lies a tunnel. The largest and the one of the most powerful machines ever to have been built by man, the Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is a 27km ( 17 miles) long circular tunnel in Europe, crossing the border between France and Switzerland at 4 points, but most of it within France.

 It was built by CERN or the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Sounds familiar? That’s right; Dan Brown based his bestseller ‘Angels and Demons’ on a controversy heavily involving the production of antimatter (geek alert!) and the faiths of the Christian church.

 Anyway, now that we know that CERN is the biggest, badass-est research organization there is, let’s talk about the awesomeness of the LHC. What is it supposed to do? The purpose of LHC is to increase our knowledge of the universe. There are hopes that it will help answer some fundamental questions about physics, gravity, quantum mechanics and general relativity.

LHC went live in 2008. For those noobs out there, the LHC is responsible for smashing together teeny tiny particles in the speed of light. Comprendo? Let me explain further. It is basically a particle accelerator with superconducting magnets to boost the energy of the particles along the way. Inside the tunnel, two high energy particle beams travel almost at the speed of light in opposite directions and are made to collide. The events on collision are what scientists study so minutely. What has it already done? There has been a question that has confounded scientists for century. What is it that creates matter? Or what is the one ingredient that holds the universe together? One can phrase this question in many ways since we’ve realized, there isn’t a missing key. There are many missing keys. Imagine a map with lots of holes in it. This theory is further explained in Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ (Read it, it’s a great book!) LHC concentrates a lot of effort into determining the existence of exotic particles, dark matter (dark matter is a kind of matter which cannot be seen by telescopes but accounts for most of space).
  • In 2009, LHC successfully performed 284 collisions in the ALICE detector which yielded new data about proton-proton collisions.
  • In 2011, LHC successfully created the quark-gluon plasma (the densest matter besides black holes). It’s a big deal guys, coz black holes are scary!
But the main purpose is much more exciting. It involves the infamous Higg’s Boson Particle, also dubbed as the ‘God’s Particle’. What’s the big hullabaloo over this? It is supposed to give mass to all other particles, thereby proving to be the reason for all existence. Now, it’s hypothetical and there has been a 40 year long search for this elusive little guy since detecting Higgs Boson is very very hard. 

 On July 4, 2012, they announced a discovery of a new particle which was suspected to be a Higgs Boson.In March 2013, the particle was proven to behave, interact and decay the way predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It also has zero spin and positive parity, the two most fundamental properties of the Higgs Boson. To scientists, it was the biggest discovery in centuries. Groundbreaking, earth shattering. To have more than 40 years of research finally bear fruit, it’s equivalent to having Christmas every day :D So unless contradicting data is found, we can be now be reasonable assured that the ‘God’s Particle’ has been found. LHC has served a great role in the history of civilization and will continue to do so, as these particles are tested and further amazing discoveries are made. Here’s a weird tit-bit The LHC has seen a lot of opposition. Many stated that the cost of constructing and operating the LHC is not worth it. But the weirdest was the claim that LHC could result to the end of the world. Move over crazy volcanoes and gigantic tsunamis and the shifting of tectonic plates, Armageddon will finally be brought about by a 17 miles long tunnel. Odd, right? There’s even a website called: http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/


So, what do you think of the Large Hadron Collider? Do you think it has exciting prospects? Or should we stop spending so much money and give up the quest to unlock the mysteries of the universe? Let me know your thoughts, opinions and suggestions in the comment boxes below!