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Thursday
Jul122012

Why we care about the Large Hadron Collider, and you might too

Tonight, Auckland University old boy Mark Kruse gave a stimulating, down-to-earth talk, with some wavey hands, about the Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs field and the Higgs boson. And then the full aditorium asked really interesting questions - and one regarding religion.

A few of the interesting points from Mark's talk, which you might drop into your next cocktail party, include:

  • protons collide inside the LHC's detectors at about 40 million collisions per second
  • the universe hasn't got a middle nor does it have an edge (no edge!)
  • the Higgs boson decays immediately into two jets of hadrons
  • there's a lot of wavey hands when talking about unknowns in physics
  • at a hundreth, trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, the universe was a million, trillion degrees (slip, slop, slap, people)
  • a hadron is any sub-atomic particle made of quarks (not cheese)
  • only 4.6% of the universe is observable. (four.point.six.percent. That's not very many percents)

It was a really good evening - you know - if you like that kind of thing.

Which I do. So it was.

I topped it off by listening to Brian Cox and Robin Ince on The Infinate Monkey Cage podcast all the way home on the bus.

Science is so accessible and cool these days. These physists, they're like rock stars. Passionate, studious, rock stars. 

Links worth checking out:

 

‎"The Higgs boson was predicted, then a particle appears that fits that prediction. So now they have to work out that it is actually the particle. Just cos it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, doesn't automatically mean it is a duck"
"Quark, quark." 
"Oh, shut up."

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