Arts and Science

CERN and the Large Hadron Collider

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I had the opportunity while in Geneva to visit the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Large Hadron Collider.

This is the most expensive scientific project in the history of humankind, costing over $6 billion dollars. Recently it made the news for finding the elusive “God Particle”.

After what was probably the coolest tour I’ve ever seen, I was able to visit the ATLAS sensor, a 7000 ton (equivalent to the Eiffel Tower) apparatus that measures the particles that spin off of heavy collisions.

The basic premise is that by sending particles with different masses towards each other at 7 km per second slower than the speed of light, the energy converts into mass creating superdense particles that exist for a very short time, approximating the types of particles that existed when the universe was only a few centimeters in diameter. Pretty cool. (If only I could write scientific articles¬†like my college roommate….)

This place generates 1% of all data worldwide, and the other statistics are equally staggering. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was here, at 5.5 TRILLION degrees.

If you ever find yourself in Geneva, go see it.  Click here to make a reservation for the tour.