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The LHC particle accelerator, located beneath the Franco-Swiss border, is now the world's highest energy particle accelerator.  (Source: Entropy Bound)

The LHC is packed with some of the world's most advanced electronics and should unlock some incredible physics secrets.  (Source: Terra Cotta)
The Large Hadron Collider is finally getting serious, pushing the limits of particle physics

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was long billed to become the world's most powerful particle accelerator.  However, a failure last year shut it down, necessitating a yearlong repair.  Earlier this month the accelerator was fired back up and last week it completed an important benchmark -- completing its first "low" energy collisions.

The LHC, located underneath the Franco-Swiss border, accelerates streams of protons along a 17-mile long circular track, at speeds close to the speed of light.  The proton beams, contained by powerful superconducting electromagnets, travel in opposite directions and cross at intersections.  At these intersections violent collisions occur, which are logged and analyzed by advanced detectors.

Now the scientists with European Organization for Nuclear Research (better known by its French acronym CERN) are pumping up the energy of the beams and have set an incredible record.  They have upped the beam energy to 1.18 trillion electron volts at 2344 GMT on Sunday.  Before that, the beams had been operating at 450 billion electron volts to verify that everything was working properly.

To put this in context, a mosquito's entire body has approximately 1 TeV in kinetic energy.  Mosquitoes, though, have approximately 1023 to 1024 atoms in them, each with one or more protons.  The LHC puts the equivalent energy of these countless trillions of atoms into a single proton, an incredible accomplishment.

The LHC now stands as king of the particle accelerator world, deposing the former best, the Tevatron.  Located within the U.S. near Batvia, Illinois, the Tevatron was capable of operation at 0.98 trillion electron volts since 2001.  It is likely to be soon shut down, now that the LHC appears ready to take over duties as the world's strongest particle accelerator.

CERN's director general Rolf Heuer was pleased with the news but remained reserved, stating, "We are still coming to terms with just how smoothly the LHC commissioning is going.  It is fantastic. However, we are continuing to take it step-by-step, and there is still a lot to do before we start physics in 2010. I'm keeping my champagne on ice until then."

In 2010, the LHC is expected to pump the beams up to an unbelievable 7 TeV -- over 7 times the previous record.  With collisions at a net energy of 14 TeV, the accelerator is expected to unlock some of the universe's strangest mysteries, such as the detection of the long theorized Higgs boson, nicknamed the "God particle".  That's not too shabby for a particle accelerator with the prospective net energy of 14 mosquitoes.

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C'mon, Dailytech
By rtrski on 11/30/2009 10:30:19 AM , Rating: 4
The Large Hadron Collider continues is finally getting serious, pushing the limits of particle physics

We get it. This is "teh internets". It's not formal journalism or news. And spelling and grammar Nazis are all just hateful SOBs.

But really, can you not make a TRIVIAL effort to proof even your taglines for errors? Are you that dismissive of your audience?

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By amanojaku on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 11/30/2009 11:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
Speeling and grandmas are one thing, but hyperbole is quite another:
Mosquitoes, though, have approximately 10^23 to 10^24 atoms in them, each with one or more protons. The LHC puts the equivalent energy of these countless trillions of atoms into a single proton, an incredible accomplishment.

The trillions of atoms are not countless. You just counted them in the sentence prior to your assertion that they were uncountable!?

I have told you a million times not to use hyperbole, Jason.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By sloanb27 on 11/30/2009 12:03:34 PM , Rating: 4
An estimated amount is not counting. Counting would take more than one lifetime, so in essence...they are "countless".

If you counted to a billion, going as fast as 2 numbers every second, it would take you nearly 17 years (16.75 or so) to reach 1 billion. We are talking millions of billions here!

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By MrBlastman on 11/30/2009 12:43:36 PM , Rating: 4
That is assuming someone didn't walk up to you and start spouting random numbers while you counted... :P

That would _really_ be bad if you were up to about nine hundred and so million and you lost count.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By invidious on 11/30/2009 12:58:19 PM , Rating: 2
mass of object divided by mass of atom equals number of atoms. counting is determining the quantity, it does not specify the means used to do so.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By gfxBill on 11/30/2009 3:12:50 PM , Rating: 3
You're confusing counting with calculating...

Counting : a. To name or list one by one in order to determine a total; b. To recite numerals in ascending order

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By jRaskell on 12/1/2009 3:47:06 PM , Rating: 4
That is an extremely oversimplified example. How would you propose modifying that code to detect and count each individual atom within a mosquito?

That is, of course a rhetorical question, because the fact is you can't.

We simply don't have the ability to reasonably count individual atoms within any given object. We can only calculate an approximate number of atoms within said object. With the proper measuring device, that approximation can indeed get very very close to the actual number, but never exact down to a single atom.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By safcman84 on 12/1/2009 9:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
mass of object divided by mass of atom equals number of atoms. counting is determining the quantity, it does not specify the means used to do so.

Well, you would be right........

IF every atom in the mosquito was the same. Which they are not, so you can't calculate it that way, cos the atoms will all have different mass.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By lco45 on 12/1/2009 9:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
You could flash burn the mosquito and perform spectrographic analysis to determine the proportions of each element, then solve the equation for the total number of atoms.


RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By MrDiSante on 11/30/2009 3:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's really rather too bad that he didn't say uncountable, that would have been cringeworthily wrong (countability and uncountability in mathematics refer to the sizes of sets; a countable set is one where you can give each element an index (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc), an uncountable set is one where you cannot .

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By micksh on 12/1/2009 10:00:59 AM , Rating: 2
A good advertising line for hard drive manufacturers:

Our drives contain countless number of bytes!

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 1:12:39 PM , Rating: 4
Well, in Jason's defense (ducks the slings and arrows) it's impossible to count any "significant" number of atoms. The best that scientists can do is measure the number of atoms in a REAAAAAAAAAAALLY small volume (the mole), then extrapolate for larger volumes.

Notice the "Standard uncertainty" and "Relative standard uncertainty" values. The mole is an estimate.

Anyway, the term "countless" means "too many to count", so I would agree with his use of the term. He's not the first person to use that phrase, either, and I'll bet you didn't flip when someone else said it.

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By AyashiKaibutsu on 11/30/2009 1:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
So start counting them and report back to us the results when you're done (I kid mostly).

RE: C'mon, Dailytech
By rtrski on 11/30/2009 1:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
(Added after tagline edit.)

Thank you for the fix.

Whats the fuss all about?
By sweetsauce on 11/30/2009 2:55:31 PM , Rating: 1
We all know they will stall on actually running this thing until Dec 12, 2012. On that day the anti-christ will throw the switch, create a black hole, and the universe will end.

RE: Whats the fuss all about?
By Praze on 11/30/2009 6:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
If you're speaking in reference to the end of the Mayan calendar, it's not December 12th, it's December 21st (12/21/2012). Now back to the topic... ;)

Orders of magnitude
By nafhan on 11/30/2009 10:59:34 AM , Rating: 4
Playing around with wolfram alpha:
Difference in mass between one mosquito* and one proton is about 8.968x10^20.
This is equivalent to the difference in mass between one mosquito and 17X the Earth's entire biomass! There's a lot of energy in that proton.

By gyranthir on 11/30/2009 10:33:57 AM , Rating: 3
Batavia, not Batvia.

Question ...
By Aquila76 on 11/30/2009 12:44:46 PM , Rating: 3
If a 1.18TeV proton traveling at near the speed of light hit your windshield on the highway, would the last thing YOU saw before dying be your rectum?

Mighty big mosquitos
By TargetDriver on 11/30/2009 2:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming that a mosquito is around 85% water, if the mosquito has between 10^23 and 10^24 atoms in it, its weight would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.1 to 1 gram. Are these Minnesota mosquitos?

By boeush on 11/30/2009 10:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
I feel like the article fails to deliver a proper perspective on the magnitude of LHC's entomological achievements.

Yes, a single proton at 1 Tev might be roughly equivalent to a mosquito, but there is never just a single proton circulating through that ring. There are probably "countless trillions" of those circulating protons, which equates to tons, nay truckloads, nay oceans of mosquito equivalents.

When put that way, the enormity of this scientific achievement truly comes into focus! Even if I do say so myself. All right, all right, I'll buzz off now...

By lucybrucie on 12/1/2009 8:43:01 AM , Rating: 2
I had to create an account just to say "who cares" count calculate "whatever".

By FishTankX on 12/1/2009 9:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
While 1 of these protons is packing the kinetic energy of a flying mosquito, if mosquitos indeed have 10^24 protons, all of the protons in a flying mosquito were packing the energy of one of the LHC protons, the mosquito would have the same kinetic energy as the explosion of 8 100 megaton thermonuclear warheads, or about 8x the amount of solar energy hitting the entire earth every second.

Obligatory MC Hawking quote
By Odeen on 12/4/2009 2:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
I explode like a bomb, no one is spared,
my power is my mass times the speed of light squared.
Hoes on my tip, 15 bullets in my clip,
my hand rests heavy on my pistol grip.

By etrading59 on 12/7/2009 7:49:02 AM , Rating: 2
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas sales, there are exquisite gift, here are the most fashionable and most noble gift, please come to order.For details, please consult:


By miteethor on 11/30/2009 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 1
World's Toughest Fixes did an episode where they replaced one of the magnets. According to the show something like 38 of these massive magnets "derailed" when they powered it up. Absolutely fascinating seeing everything that goes into the LHC

Looks like they are playing it again on Dec 24th:

By etrading59 on 12/7/2009 8:03:31 AM , Rating: 1
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas sales, there are exquisite gift, here are the most fashionable and most noble gift, please come to order.For details, please consult:


Really ?
By MarcLeFou on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Really ?
By amanojaku on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Really ?
By noxipoo on 11/30/2009 1:56:13 PM , Rating: 4
What country are you from that has 18% unemployment? This thing wasn't paid by just Switzerland, CERN has 20 European members and this thing was paid for by 100 some countries. Last I checked EU had something like 8-9% unemployment.

The US has plenty of on time scientific projects, send your hate somewhere else.

RE: Really ?
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 2:19:48 PM , Rating: 3
The US, of which I am a citizen, has an official unemployment rate of 10.5% (15.7M). This assumes that 155M Americans work, out of the +300M in the populace.

Additionally, there are 9.3M part time workers, who would otherwise be full time.

Then there are 2.4M unemployed workers who were not added to the 15.7M because they did not look for work 4 weeks prior to the survey.

So... ((15.7+9.3+2.4) / 155) * 100 = 17.6%

And how is it hateful to say the government is regularly behind on projects? The last time I checked, increased costs due to delays and poor planning is the first thing we cry about. Because it raises our taxes.

RE: Really ?
By noxipoo on 11/30/2009 2:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Did you add all those part-time and unemployed workers for Switzerland? How about you calculate it for the EU and make your statements about how the economy is doing so well for LHC countries.

RE: Really ?
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 3:02:05 PM , Rating: 1
WTF are you talking about? I wasn't comparing the US to the EU, I was comparing the US to Switzerland.
CERN is located in Switzerland . The economy is very strong there ( Switzerland ), with unemployment less than 4%. Ours is around 18%, so yeah, according to him ( Rolf Heuer ) the economy is strong. :-)
Sure, the EU paid for it, but I'm pretty sure Rolf Heuer wasn't talking about all of Europe when he said the economy is strong. It damn sure isn't, except for Switzerland.

RE: Really ?
By saidone on 12/1/2009 6:26:30 AM , Rating: 1
Switzerland is a very rich country. They have plenty of money. Don't mention that most of that money came by trafficking, money laundering and so on by the largest criminal organizations, and thanks to their secretive (and hoping that will be declared illegal soon) banking system.

RE: Really ?
By Strunf on 12/1/2009 8:13:36 AM , Rating: 1
The money may be in Switzerland but it's not being made there... how about you hunt the criminals instead of the banks, you think that criminals don't have other places where to put money? I see more than one country that would be more than happy to get money in their banks regardless where it comes from.

RE: Really ?
By saidone on 12/1/2009 8:35:07 AM , Rating: 3
One of the most effective things to do to fight criminal organizations is to block their finance, a thing that Switzerland actually does not allow.
However, I like Emmental very much.

RE: Really ?
By DOSGuy on 11/30/2009 7:24:23 PM , Rating: 3
"Additionally, there are 9.3M part time workers, who would otherwise be full time."

Underemployed != unemployed. Those people would like to work more, but they're not unemployed! You can't mix unemployment and underemployment numbers and call it an unemployment statistic.

So... ((15.7+2.4) / 155) * 100 = 11.67%

RE: Really ?
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 9:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
The Bureau of Labor Statistics and its parent, United States Department of Labor, disagrees. Unemployment statistics consist of six classifications, U1-U6. U3 is the "official unemployment statistic" presented to the public as most people don't understand the other stats.

The government views underemployment to be just as bad as unemployment. The US is a capitalist country; why offer unemployment benefits? So that the economy doesn't go down the toilet. You get no wages, you can't pay your bills. You don't pay your bills, the next guy can't pay his bills. Domino effect.

The same situation exists for underemployment. In order for the economy to function people need to spend. The less money they have the less they spend, and the economy goes down the toilet. A person who used to make $100K suddenly has to make do with 20 hours a week at $10 an hour, if the gods are kind. $200 a week is ~$10K annually, 10% of the original salary. There's less taxes for the government, less cash to spend on necessities, and only the foolish spend their pennies on luxuries. The government feels unemployment and underemployment must both be tackled if the economy is to thrive. Our current situation is basically the chicken-and-egg problem of "I have no money, so I can't spend" and "I am not making any money, so I can't hire".

From one of the sources below:
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force

U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force

U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)

U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers

U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers

RE: Really ?
By DOSGuy on 11/30/2009 9:15:12 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not saying that underemployment is bad, but it's better to work part-time than not at all. Portraying the underemployed as unemployed makes the situation look worse than it really is.

Okay, what does all this have to do with the LHC again?

RE: Really ?
By bandstand124 on 11/30/2009 10:21:25 AM , Rating: 5
Even with that incident, I would say it is going incredibly, incredibly smoothly considering the LHC is the most sophisticated, complex and precise machine to have ever been built by mankind.

RE: Really ?
By bigboxes on 11/30/2009 11:25:47 AM , Rating: 5
the LHC is the most sophisticated, complex and precise machine to have ever been built by mankind.

That would be a Mac.

RE: Really ?
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 11:32:51 AM , Rating: 2
I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair and hit stuff. I should sue, but I'll just thank you for brightening an otherwise dreary day.

RE: Really ?
By Ratinator on 11/30/2009 12:36:33 PM , Rating: 1
OMG, you didn't.

I hate Apple, but that was funny as hell.

RE: Really ?
By axias41 on 11/30/2009 2:34:44 PM , Rating: 5
No, cause Mac just works, and LHC didn't.

RE: Really ?
By ertomas on 12/1/2009 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
But that is not the manufacturer's fault. Maybe the scientists jailbroke it and got a virus!

RE: Really ?
By bdot on 11/30/2009 2:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well played sir. Thank you for that.

RE: Really ?
By inperfectdarkness on 11/30/2009 3:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
until the trans-atlantic tunnel gets built?


RE: Really ?
By ZoZo on 11/30/2009 10:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
He obviously meant the *new* commissioning. It's been going smoothly since they started it up on the 23rd of November.

RE: Really ?
By gmyx on 11/30/2009 10:50:48 AM , Rating: 4
He is talking about something different with "commissioning". From the LHC website, it seems that "commissioning" means creating a beam before injection into LHC. I think. It is full of physics speak:

RE: Really ?
By TSS on 11/30/2009 11:14:09 AM , Rating: 2

Yes that doesn't look like it would take a year to fix. I could patch that up in a day, And still have a proton approach lightspeed by nightfall!

RE: Really ?
By drycrust on 12/1/2009 10:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
As I understand it, the joint that failed was in an area which is cooled to some extremely low temperature, so low they just couldn't don their winter woolies and ski to it. If you had tried they might have just left you there and waited until technology improved to the point where they could bring you back to life (that's if another joint didn't fail in the interval).

RE: Really ?
By SPOOFE on 11/30/2009 4:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Now that's a surprising comment after being shut down for a whole year after first startup because of a faulty solder costing them millions of dollars ...

For a project of this complexity and magnitude, it is indeed going pretty darn smoothly.

By bradmshannon on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
The U.S. can't get a project like this going
By SerafinaEva on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
By amanojaku on 11/30/2009 8:35:55 PM , Rating: 3
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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