1.18 TeV and counting

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) set a new particle collision energy record at 1.18 TeV, surpassing Fermilab's Tevatron record of 0.98 TeV. And the LHC is just getting started! It is designed to ultimately accelerate beams of protons to 7 TeV. The beams run in opposite directions and head-on collisions occur when the beams are steered into each other, for a total collision energy of 14 TeV! That's 14 million million electron volts! That's a heady number and it's very difficult to grasp the enormity. But think of it this way: if every person on earth had just one electron volt, you would need 14 million million people! Crazy - I know.

Or, here's another way to imagine it. 1 TeV is about equal to the kinetic energy of 1 flying mosquito. So the LHC is like sending 7 mosquitoes one way and 7 t'other, and having them collide head-on in midair. Do it enough times, and one of the mosquitoes will poop out a god particle. At least that's what the physicists will be looking for. Like I said - crazy! I may crap a god particle just thinking about it.

1 comment:

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