Restored machine to explore mysteries of Big Bang
AP – In this photo released by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on Saturday, Nov. 21, …
GENEVA – Scientists are preparing the world's largest atom smasher to explore the depths of matter after successfully restarting the $10 billion machine following more than a year of repairs.
When the machine is fully operational, its magnets will control the beams of protons and send them in opposite directions through two parallel tubes the size of fire hoses.
In rooms as large as cathedrals 300 feet (100 meters) under the Swiss-French border, the magnets will force them into huge detectors to record the reactions.
One goal is to unravel the mysteries of the Big Bang that many scientists theorize marked the creation of the universe billions of years ago.
The restart of the Large Hadron Collider late Friday was hailed as a significant leap forward in efforts to launch new experiments — probably in January — on the makeup of matter and the universe.
The machine was heavily damaged by a simple electrical fault in September last year.
The nuclear physicists working on it were surprised at how quickly they got beams of protons whizzing through the 17-mile (27-kilometer) circular tunnel underground late Friday.
"That was all wrapped up by midnight. They are going through the paces really very fast," said James Gillies, spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known by its French acronym, CERN.
Things went so well Friday evening that scientists achieved the operation seven hours earlier than expected, he said. Some scientists had gone home early Friday and had to be called back as the project jumped ahead, Gillies added.
Praise from scientists around the world was quick.
"I congratulate the scientists and engineers that have worked to get the LHC back up and running," said Dennis Kovar of the U.S. Department of Energy, which participates in the project. He called the machine "unprecedented in size, in complexity, and in the scope of the international collaboration that has built it over the last 15 years."
CERN decided Saturday to test all the protection equipment while there still is a very low intensity proton beam circulating in the collider. The tests will take 10 days, Gillies said.
He said CERN decided against immediately testing the collider's ability to speed up the beams to higher energy or to start with low-energy collisions that would help scientist calibrate their detection equipment.
In the meantime, CERN is using about 2,000 superconducting magnets — some of them 15 meters (50 feet) long — to improve control of the beams of billions of protons so they will remain tightly bunched and stay clear of sensitive equipment.
Officials said Friday evening's progress was an important step on the road toward scientific discoveries at the Large Hadron Collider, which are expected in 2010.
"We've still got some way to go before physics can begin, but with this milestone we're well on the way," CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said.
Tahun lepas pengarah CERN kata antara tujuan penting eksperimen ini ialah kemungkinan membuka dimensi alam-lam lain yang belum diterokai sains sebelum ini. Malah beliau berkata mini Black Hole yang akan dijana nanti boleh dikawal. Namun beliau tidak dapat memberi jawapan yang memuaskan tentang langkah berjaga-jaga untuk mengelak kemungkinan black hole akan berganda menjadi berjuta-juta dan terlepas ke bumi.
Jika dilihat dalam Surah Ar-Rum ayat 41 bermaksud kerosakan di bumi dan di laut disebabkan tangan-tangan manusia.
Maka jika ini terjadi kerosakan lebih dahsyat dari ujian nuklear lagi malah mengancam bumi. Wallahua'lam
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