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ATLAS detector inside the massive collider is the size of three football fields

One of the most burning questions in the minds of many scientists is how exactly our universe started. In Geneva, 2,500 researchers came together to create one of the world’s largest particle colliders.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is located 100 meters under the ground in Geneva and has a circumference of 27 km (over 16 miles). The massive LHC will be used by researchers to probe the beginnings of our universe.

Claude Leroy, a physics professor from Université de Montréal, was one of the scientists involved in the project and responsible for creating the ATLAS detector used in the collider to provide a new look at the conditions that occurred during the Big Bang and immediately following.

ATLAS is the largest of the four detectors inside the LHC and is a massive device in its own right. ATLAS is 7,000 tons in weight, 46 meters in length, and 25 meters in height.

Leroy conducted the radiation and irradiation studies to ensure ATLAS ran smoothly when in operation. Leroy also created a device called MPX, which is a small device attached throughout the LHC and ATLAS to perform real-time measurements of the spectral characteristics and composition of radiation inside and around the ATLAS detector. The device is said to capture images of what’s inside the detector and its environment like neutrons and photons.

For the LHC to operate, its components must be cooled to a superconducting state. Some components of the LHC will be cooled to minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit by cooling the magnets with liquid helium. Parts of the ATLAS device will be cooled with liquid argon to minus 312 Fahrenheit.

When in operation the LHC will collide two beams of particles at close to the speed of light in an attempt to answer what the 96% of the unknown universe is made of, why particles have mass, why nature prefers matter of antimatter, and what lies beyond Earth’s dimension.

DailyTech reported on another of the LHCs components called the Regional Calorimeter Trigger in February of 2006.

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RE: What else can it do?
By Goty on 3/31/2008 5:22:50 PM , Rating: 5
One of the main experiments the LHC will conduct is a search for the Higgs Boson (the particle thought to be the reason that all other elementary particles have mass), which is the last particle in the Standard Model of Elementary Particles to be observed. Now, if we can complete the standard model and if it holds up to the energies we hope it will (up into the 10^15-10^16 TeV range), that will give us precious insight into what things were like shortly after the big bang.

RE: What else can it do?
By AmyM on 4/1/2008 7:55:21 AM , Rating: 3
Thank you.

It’s nice to see that someone out there can answer a legitimate question without being facetious or judgmental.

RE: What else can it do?
By derwin on 4/1/2008 11:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
The Higgs boson not is exactly the cause of particles having mass... As far as I understand it (still an undergrad...) the Higgs boson is actually the particle we see from a wave in the Higgs field* much like a photon is the particle observed from a wave in the EM field. As the EM fields describe how certain particles of certain charges are to act, the Higgs field tells particles to act in a way such that they appear to have mass.

The thing that is interesting about this regarding the big bang (again, I'm an undergrad here...) is that they hope to calculate the energies at which the higgs field drops off (sort of like how you can infuse enough energy into a ferrmagnet and it will stop having a magnetic field...) so at early stages of the universe, when the energy was still beyond a certain density, it may have been that NOTHING in the universe had any mass at all...

Again, don't quote me, I'm an undergrad; just sharing what knowledge I think I may have.

*They hope to see a wave in the Higgs field by creating HUGE numbers of Z and W bosons, which will decay rapidily, creating a huge drop in mass, very suddenly (don't worry, E=MC^2, but the radiation given off is in antineutrinos, so it would not do any damage to anybody... incase you are scared this would blow up the world or something...), and the hope is that just as if a charge were acelerated rapidly, this fast and distinct change in the Higgs field's affect, it will produce a wave, creating what we can see as a particle... the Higgs Boson.

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