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Short Film About CERN's Large Hadron Collider 179

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the crash-test-donut dept.
Lobster911 writes "Seedmagazine.com has posted a new film, Lords of the Ring, about CERN's Large Hadron Collider. NESTA fellow Alom Shaha takes us through the world's largest machine, as he lets the scientists who work at CERN explain the LHC and what they hope to accomplish with it. The highly-anticipated collider is set to start up in 2007, running at full speed by 2008."
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Short Film About CERN's Large Hadron Collider

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:22PM (#15708938)
    Including previews and ads, the film runs approximately 1.67 picoseconds, but at relativistic speeds, it seems like hours.
  • Low content (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:24PM (#15708952) Homepage
    The video was a little low on content (I guess it was aimed at a more general audience). I think they should have spent a little more time explaining why re-creating conditions at the big bang will NOT create a second big bang that will obliterate the universe. (yes, some people actually worry about that)
    • One of the things common with very basic research is that it's hard to justify what benefits will come out of it. The first folks playing with radioactive materials all died of cancer, little knowing their sacrifice would completely change geopolitics for decades to come.

      The collider will give us a better view of basic particle interactions. Will it give us anti-gravity or make our teeth whiter? Probably not, but unexpected things will likely come of it.
    • Some people believed that blowing up a nuclear weapon on this planet could start a world-wide chain reaction that would not stop by itself, we still blew it up :)
      • Re:Unimportant (Score:5, Informative)

        by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:12PM (#15709202) Journal
        Edward Teller had a concern about atmospheric nitrogen undergoing fusion, essentially igniting the entire atmosphere. He got together with a couple of other Manhattan Project physicists and showed that it was not just unlikely, but impossible. With this concern laid to rest, they knew that it was safe (so to speak) to detonate the bomb.

        It was one of the other physicists (not the ones with whom Teller collaborated on the above report) who kept talking about it afterward, and allowed the story to live on, much to the annoyance of a number of Manhattan Project researchers.
    • by deft (253558) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:59PM (#15709149) Homepage
      >>> more time explaining why re-creating conditions at the big bang will NOT create a second big bang that will obliterate the universe. (yes, some people actually worry about that)

      What, you mean forcing God to do something after an apaprent 2000 year absence (not counting toast apparitions)

      It would be awesome if they ran that thing, and God came down from the heavens saying "Dude, I heard that... fricken loud man! I heard it all the way across the universe where I'm creating a planet consisting only of a beer volcano and a stripper factory... check it out".

      ramen.
    • That's a silly thing to worry about because if it does, it's not like there's going be some kind of aftermath to be concerned about.
      • Isn't that a bit like putting a gun to your head and pulling the trigger, reasoning: if I'm dead then I won't care about the aftermath, therefore no reason not to!
      • Well, I think you're missing the point. I, for one, still have a lot of great sex ahead of me, and missing out on all that over a slight misunderstanding about the nature of the Universe would just piss me off.
    • LHC@Home (Score:4, Informative)

      by schmiddy (599730) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @08:54PM (#15709904) Homepage Journal
      If you'd like to pitch in yourself and help the LHC project, running LHC@Home [lhcathome.cern.ch] is a great way! They use your CPU cycles to simulate particles traveling in the LHC. The server might be out of work units at the moment, but there are, of course, other cool projects that use the same BOINC client that you might not have heard of, like Einstein @ Home [uwm.edu] that helps the LIGO project searching for gravity waves.
    • Re:Low content (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)
      The video was a little low on content (I guess it was aimed at a more general audience).

      The whole website is like that - it's kind of a Parade magazine for the 'hip' crowd. Nothing in depth, little that's controversial - a little science, a little nonsense, a little news, a little opinion. At the end, despite the minsicule effort involved to read it, you feel like you've accomplished something.
  • The very title of the video indicates that the quirky, sense-of-humour absense is still rife amongst particle physicists.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:29PM (#15708987)
      > The very title of the video indicates that the quirky, sense-of-humour absense is still rife amongst particle physicists.

      Quirky? That's strange. If only you'd written it as "quarky", it would have been a truly beautiful and charming joke.


      • it would have been a truly beautiful and charming joke

        Well, that post up there was a strange one. Those of us down here salute you.
        • > > it would have been a truly beautiful and charming joke
          >
          >Well, that post up there was a strange one. Those of us down here salute you.

          That's a strong response, I'd say it's on top. This one is weak by comparison. It wouldn't hit the bottom end of a barn. (The broad sides of the barn of course, having been open to permit the the large rod to pass through it. Honest honey, it's bigger when it's not moving!)

          • Yeesh, you need to put a different spin on it. Besides, we all know you merely lepton this thread to post someting strange. Oh, incidently, quantum cats muon and on.
  • by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:27PM (#15708980) Homepage Journal
    The highly-anticipated collider is set to start up in 2007, running at full speed by 2008.

    When I read this I thought they were talking about Windows Vista.
    • Contrary to popular belief, it's not actually possible to run a Windows OS at full speed! By the time your hardware is fast enough to run some version of Windows that fast, that version won't support your hardware.

      I guess this is kind of a Microsoft Koan or something.
  • by Kesch (943326) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:30PM (#15708994)
    Three particles of neutrons uncharged in our eye,
    Seven of electrons with no atoms to call home,
    Nine of protons from which Hydrogen we did pry,
    One ring for the Physicists on their dark thrones
    In the Land of Sweden where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to collide them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Sweden where the Shadows lie.
  • by martinX (672498) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:31PM (#15709001)

    The highly-anticipated collider is set to start up in 2007, running at full speed by 2008."

    It's going to take a year to get those particles up to full speed? Heavy.

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:34PM (#15709019) Homepage

    Religious fundamentalists complaining that we do not need to spend billions of dollars figuring out what happened at the so-called “Big Bang” (God created the universe, afterall) and that those funds would be better spent on more ambitious projects [outsidethebeltway.com] that would help save America from immorality and godlessness.

    • .....figuring out what happened at the so-called "Big Bang" (God created the universe, afterall).....

      God doesn't seem to mind scientists trying to figure out how He did it. If He did object to His atoms being smashed, He'd have made them unbreakable. As it is, it appears they are pretty tough little buggers. I know, since I helped build what is still the most powerful electron accelerator. This new collider will however still be far short of the energies God imparts to cosmic rays. The beam current of cosmi
    • The Clinton Administration, not known for its religious fundementalism, killed the Supercollider [hep.net] to divert funds to social programs.

      • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @08:49PM (#15709871) Homepage

        The Clinton Administration, not known for its religious fundementalism, killed the Supercollider [hep.net] to divert funds to social programs.

        Taking your claim at face value, I would respond by stating that he was or they were fools for doing so. Instead, they ought to have revoked tax exempt status for religious organizations (which contribute nothing to human progress and have not done so for thousands of years) and used that revenue to fund science.

        Thank you for pointing this out so we can remind ourselves that partisan politics are silly and politicians are deeply fallible. And for that very reason, each and every person ought to be concerned about the doings of their government so that they become educated about and engaged in its proper function.

        • Taking your claim at face value, I would respond by stating that he was or they were fools for doing so. Instead, they ought to have revoked tax exempt status for religious organizations (which contribute nothing to human progress and have not done so for thousands of years) and used that revenue to fund science.

          Clinton is indeed a fool. But Judeo-Christian ideas are a vital component of western secular law. In that sense religion has contributed much. Your secular liberal ideas did not just spring into b

          • But Judeo-Christian ideas are a vital component of western secular law. In that sense religion has contributed much.

            All of the commandments in the bible save the first three were secular in nature. The Chinese, Greeks, Pre-Christian Rome, Indians and many other civilisations had a lot of the same laws before they became 'judeo/christian'. I think it's time to stop the myth that a bunch of secular laws are based on some magical creature's decree. It's insulting to say that humanity can't figure things out

            • The Chinese, Greeks, Pre-Christian Rome, Indians and many other civilisations had a lot of the same laws before they became 'judeo/christian'. I think it's time to stop the myth that a bunch of secular laws are based on some magical creature's decree. It's insulting to say that humanity can't figure things out on its own.

              The deficiency and depravity of most of these civilizations highlight my point. Secularists like yourself see the law and concepts of freedom as self-evident. They are not. Judeo-Christia

              • The deficiency and depravity of most of these civilizations highlight my point.

                Exactly what deficiencies or depravities are possessed in these societies that are not evident in western culture today? Let me pick on America. We torture people, violate rights without due process, and engage in empire-building wars. All these things, might I remind you, are at the behest of or at least supported by an Administration headed by an evangelical Christian. If these are allowed by Judeo-Christian values, spa

          • It is ironic you call Bill Clinton a fool for supporting social programs when Christianity purports to have a central tentant of generosity to those less fortunate. Instead, one trait I commonly find amongst Christians is they are extremely greedy. They are aghast at any of their money being given to the impovished [slashdot.org]. Nevermind that the fundamental reason we form societies is to improve the lives of everyone in the group. The mutual benefit of all participants is the very reason we come together and build

            • It is ironic you call Bill Clinton a fool for supporting social programs when Christianity purports to have a central tentant of generosity to those less fortunate.

              The question is does government do a better job of providing charity than religious organisations. Most conservatives would say "no" emphatically. American religious organisations are the most charitable in the world.

              Instead, one trait I commonly find amongst Christians is they are extremely greedy. They are aghast at any of their money being

  • Does the movie start out
    "One Large Hadron Collider to rule them all, one Large Hadron Collider to find them, one Large Hadron Collider to bring the protons, and in the 14 teraelectron darkness bind them" ?

    We wonders, precious, we wonders...
  • by treeves (963993) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:40PM (#15709051) Homepage Journal
    does anyone have anything interesting to say about it?
    I read on a theoretical physics blog (yes, there are such things) that there is a fear that this LHC might actually generate black holes.
    link [columbia.edu]
    Now that could make things very interesting, for a short time. . .not that I think it's likely to really happen.
    • I also read that in several places.

      Do we actually know what would happen if small scale black holes were produced? Could they grow and swallow everything? Or would they only exist for the briefest of moments before disappearing?
      • by Chrispy1000000 the 2 (624021) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:03PM (#15709164)
        If the LHC produces black holes, then we know that black holes are produced when cosmic rays hit the higher reaches of the atmosphere. Same sort of energy levels, just more controlable and repeatable down here. So, by theory of 'we're not gone yet' it figures that we will be pretty safe.

        You'd need a nano-blackhole with the mass of everest or so for it not to decay in seconds, iirc. 2 protons don't cut it buddy.
    • IAAP (though just a graduate student), and it's my understanding that any black hole we could possibly create with LHC would have such a small amount of mass that it would evaporate in much, much, (much), less than a second-ie: before swallowing anything at all. And the Earth is not nearly dense enough to give it enough fuel to sustain. Even the core of the Earth isn't dense enough.
    • by deander2 (26173) * <[public] [at] [kered.org]> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @10:10PM (#15710242) Homepage
      these type of high energy particle collisions are happening all around us all the time. (esp. as you get into the upper atmosphere, as they rain down on us from space) surely if they could produce black holes that could destroy the earth they would have done so already.

      this machine will only reproduce these collisions in very controlled conditions, letting us learn from them.

      btw, this is not a concern i've ever heard an actual physicist raise. all theories of micro black holes predict they burn themselves out as fast as they are created, as there is a critical mass needed for self-sustainment. i have doubts regarding the reliability of your "science" blog.
    • I read on a theoretical physics blog (yes, there are such things) that there is a fear that this LHC might actually generate black holes.

      That would actually be ultra cool. A black hole would evaporate in a minute fraction of a second, giving off a very different signature than the expected quark-gluon plasma. If that were the case, physicists would get insight towards new physics, like string theory - the first experimental data about it. It seems, however, that chances are slim.

      Also, a black hole is
    • Yes, there's a standing joke between physicists that LHC means "Last Hadron Collider".
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:50PM (#15709105) Homepage
    'd be cool if his name was Atom Smasha.

  • if at the moment they crank this thing up to full speed that the universe is suddently obliterated? Who should then be blamed? The scientists that built this thing that makes Big Bang II or by a god with a really twisted sense of humor?
  • a little hasty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grahamrow (925526) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:25PM (#15709260)
    As an undergrad writing software to help align the muon spectrometer, I have been surprised to learn how behind the software is with the hardware. After attending a workshop at Harvard I was informed that segfaulting is normal behavior at the end of a reconstruction run? I will be surprised if everything is working as grandly as this video's creators would have us believe. Also take note that I am an undergrad writing software to align the muon spectrometer, they must be behind...
    • what language do you write that in? C?
      and out of curiousity, where do you go to school?
      • Re:a little hasty (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grahamrow (925526)
        I was handed some very Fortran-esque C code (run in several steps) and have been converting that into C++. There is an official framework called Athena, which is written in C++ as well... when I spoke about the drawbacks of the software I was speaking about just that. I have been developing outside of the framework because my work is more geared towards calibration and alignment, and I do not need to take advantage of some of the more finicky functionality supplied by the framework. For those interested...
        • Scientists are famous for writing bad, but mostly functional code. The two disciplines don't have much in common, so the usually the coding end of it suffers. It's difficult for a computer scientist to write the code without understanding what's going on, and I suspect most scientists would rather pay their own grad students than some outsider who might do a better job. Coupled with the fact that FORTRAN is still used (and all the problems that come with it), and it's easy to see why the software is so f
    • When I worked at STAR (RHIC) I was surprised at how much off-line software there was. So given the size of the LHC project, it's not surprising that there are still some bugs to be worked out.
  • by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:25PM (#15709264) Homepage
    "...he has also been a physics teacher, television producer, science writer and goat herder."
  • You know, they always tell you your hadron is "large", but that doesn't mean anything.

    -Peter
  • Lest we forget ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dlasley (221447) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:42PM (#15709347) Homepage
    The barren tunnels outside Wakahachie, Texas house a testament to the U.S. attempt:

    America's Discarded Superconducting Supercollider: [damninteresting.com]

    Anyone know what the total cost will be? The U.S. version was supposed to top $US 8 billion, and I saw something about a U.S. government grant of $US 500 million in the late 90s. Curious to know if there were lessons learned and if the approach wound up making more fiscal sense.

    &laz;
    • Its interesting to note that the SSC would have been almost 3 times more powerful than the LHC will be. Had the SSC not been cancelled, whatever discoveries will be made at the LHC (discovery of the Higgs, etc.) would have certainly been made almost a decade ago instead of several years in the future.
  • its the detectors. The size and complexity are amazing and if you have a chance to do a tour of RHIC, FNAL or any of the many others make sure you do.  I do have  photos but I'm not silly enough to post a link to them here ;)
  • at last, they will start true research into anti-matter. ive been waiting and watching CERN for awhile now. just think of the possibilities if they can harness the power of antimatter. a somewhat safer alternaitve to nuclear, allthough if it gets out of hand it can be just as devastating...without the nuclerar fallout, though
  • by zobier (585066)
    Large Hadron, Lords of the Ring; I'm surprised no one has managed to come up with an immature joke or two about this.
  • ...running at full speed by 2008.

    Does this mean it's only running at half speed in 2007, and 1/4 speed here in 2006? Does this mean that the collisions are only fender-benders that don't even deploy the airbags in the particles yet?

  • by DreddUK (255582) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:21AM (#15711176) Homepage
    At timecode 1:39 he claims that the protons are travelling around the 27km at 50,000 times/second. This gives them a speed of 1.3m km/sec, over 4 times the speed of light ;). Impressive!

    Apparently they travel 11,000 times a second around the 27km, reaching 0.999997828 the speed of light.

    LHC Facts [web.cern.ch]
  • I noticed a new universal unit of measurement mentioned in the film: EB/sec, or 'Encyclopedia Brittanicas per second'. While this is clearly a derivitive unit from the base knowledge unit 'Encyclopedia Brittanicas', I don't think I've ever heard EB/sec before as a unit of speed of information generation. Very useful.
  • Flashforward [sfwriter.com], a novel by Robert J. Sawyer, begins with the initial LHC power-up at CERN. Recommended.
  • This is the kind of research I was aiming for when I started my b.sc in physics. Never had the cash to finish my master's, and although I was studying in Canda, my average and my GRE were both too low to get an opportunity to do a doc in the states.

    I want to help. I want to learn more. I'm sure I have skills that can be used in that kind of research.

    The only interesting career path I see right now is Project Manager, and it's scaring me.
    GET ME OUT OF HERE!
    (.. and I'll know in around two weeks if I can do c

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