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BBC - The Six Billion Dollar Experiment

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Thank you for downloading the horizon video podcast. This week we take a look to one of the most expensive and ambitious scientific experiments ever built: The Large Hadron Collider. November the 26th 2007 promises to be an extraordinary day. The most advanced scientific instrument ever built will be switch on. The scientists behind this experiment are hoping to unlock our Universe’s deepest secrets. The method, nothing less than recreating the moment that exploded everything into existence The Big Bang. Particle physics is a strange job you do sometimes wake up and think: I go to work every morning and my job is to recreate the conditions that were present less than a billionth of a second after de Big Bang. The hope is that in recreating the moments following the Big Bang we will get a glimpse of the fundamental particle that make up our entire Universe. Well the very big questions that humanity has posed always are: Where we came from? What are we made of? What is the future of the Universe? But the Universe like everybody else is made of little pieces which need to be understood in order to understand how the Universe works. There are 2000 scientists that inhabit a labyrinth of tunnels deep under the suburbs of Genève. Here lies the European Organization for Nuclear Research where they are putting the finishing touches to the Large Hadron Collider or LHC. When the LHC is up and running, subatomic particles called protons will be accelerated within this tunnel until they are almost at the speed of light. So there’s a beams of protons which comes at about this level, one way and there’s a counter-rotating beam of protons coming the other way and they collide head on. Every second there will be 800 million collisions, just a tiny fraction will be of interest. As the protons fragment a magnetic field separates out the different types of matters. Among these may be found our Universe’s fundamental particles. 12 types of matter particle have already being observed in colliders across the globe. Leo Lederman was among the first to set eyes on two of these. We have an outrageous ambitious to understand the world, how it works? That’s our objective. To explain how these various particles interact to make the Universe tick Lederman and his peers use something called the Standard Model. But in piecing the Standard Model together they’ve notice that don`t quite add up. There’s something spooky about this Standard Model, it doesn`t really work so we now that there was something sick in our theory. The thing that yet to be discovered in the Standard Model is that thing that gives the fundamental particles substance, that turns it into matter we can touch, it´s called mass. There’s a big hole in our knowledge appeared and the hole is related to what mass is. In order to connect the discoveries of the Standard Model to the world we see around us scientists had to think of a way for particles to gain mass. The best theory we have at the moment for the origin of mass and what makes stuff, stuff is called the Higgs mechanism. And the Higgs mechanism works by filling the Universe with a thing is almost like a trickle, by the Universe it don’t just mean the void between the stars and the planets, I mean the room in front of you. Some particles move through the Higgs field and talk to the Higgs field and slow down and they’re the heavy particles, so all the particles that make up your body are heavy because they talking into the Higgs field. The Higgs field can explain how we can have a world with solid objects from particles that appear to have no mass. The Higgs brings simplicity and beauty to a nature which looks too complicate, it introduces a kind of symmetry and a kind of beauty to nature which gives us an understanding of one of the most puzzling features of the Standard Model. To prove the existence of the Higgs field scientists have to find the particle linked to it. Yet the 40 years since it was first thought of, no one has. Now the hopes of ever seeing it lie with the Large Hadron Collider. This is like a huge new microscope that would bring us visibility to a different world, it´ll be a tremendous discovery. The LHC will generate energies seven times greater then any other collider. By doing so it will take us closer to the beginning of time than we have ever been before. And somewhere in those first few moments the Higgs particle was created. Will we find the Higgs Particles at the LHC? That, of course, is the question. And the answer is, science is what we do when we don´t know what we are doing. And one reason to look for this thing is to see whether if we find it or not. If they don’t find the Higgs, it could also mean that this elusive particle simply doesn´t exist. Yet rather than close the door to our understanding of the Universe, this prospect could actually enhance it. It can be argued that the most interesting discovery would be that we can not find the Higgs, proving practically, that it isn´t there. That would mean that we really haven´t understood something. That’s a very good scene for science. Revolution sometimes comes from the fact that you hit a wall and you realize that you truly haven´t understood anything. I think we are on the verge of a revolution in our understanding of the Universe. And now I´m sure people have said that before, but the LHC is certainly, by far, the biggest jump into the unknown.

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: Chile
Language: English
Views: 286
Posted by: mauro88 on May 28, 2010

Will the Large Hadron Collider finally reveal the elusive God particle?

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