Fri, 01 Dec 2006 00:39:56 GMT
Subatomic Inferno Under the Alps. The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, takes delivery of its last superconducting main magnet, and Wired News gets an exclusive underground tour. John Borland reports from Geneva. Nov 30, 2006 | 2:00 AM
The world’s biggest collider hopes to create a smorgasbord of exotic particles, from the so-called God particle to dark matter and maybe even miniature black holes. John Borland goes to the edge of theory. Nov 30, 2006 | 2:00 AM
Take a photo tour of mankind’s most ambitious physics experiment ever. Nov 30, 2006 | 2:00 AM
GENEVA — The elevator buttons in front of me, hand-labeled in black marker, speak volumes: “Sky,” says one, the other, “Hell.”
Sky is the Swiss-French border, pastoral Geneva countryside in the shadow of soaring Alpine mountains. Hell is “The Machine” — a 16.8-mile underground ring where, in almost precisely a year, superconducting magnets will begin accelerating atomic particles to within a hairsbreadth of the speed of light, and smash them into each other.
The resulting explosions, though tiny, will be of incredibly high energy, replicating conditions just microseconds after the big bang. Scientists expect the resulting debris to help push our understanding of the universe’s ingredients and origins to a new level.
“We’re all hoping we find something that breaks the field wide open,” said University of Pennsylvania physicist Nigel Lockyer. “The word ‘revolution’ is used.”[Wired News: Top Stories]