LHC: Beams back in business!

By Phil Plait | November 21, 2009 3:01 pm

Yesterday, the Large Hadron Collider once again had a beam of protons whizzing around its 27 km-long circumference!

After a series of setbacks — some devastating, holding up the world’s largest scientific experiment for many months — this milestone achieved shows that the collider is heading back to full operations, which should get started again next year. There will be press conference about this on Monday November 23rd at 1:00 p.m. GMT, which will be webcast live.

And if you’re wondering what the crew at CERN think of this latest news, then take a look at this picture of them looking at the results of the start up:

LHC_inbusiness

That picture makes me smile. Those unemotional, cold, calculating scientists. Why can’t they ever reveal their true feelings?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science
MORE ABOUT: CERN, LHC

Comments (41)

Links to this Post

  1. Coming Around the Bend Again at Asymptotia | November 21, 2009
  1. llewelly

    Phil, there’s a rumor spreading about the internet that the scientists at CERN are planning to use their proton beams to adjust the quantum neurodynamics of helpless abductees, thereby transforming them into zombies. Already people are disappearing off the streets, only to return days later, with stories of being immobilized by powerful magnets and bombarded by proton beams. These people have been shown to be soulless, and they suffer a constant craving for human brains…

  2. Adrian Lopez

    Look at all those scientists rejoicing over the impending destruction of the universe. For shame!

    Hopefully some equally happy group of scientists are working will get to work on sabotaging those evil, universe-destroying scientists from the past present.

  3. Adela

    The simple joy of geeks and their toys.

  4. Murff

    LoL, the lady in the bottom right corner doesn’t look all that thrilled!

  5. Gavin C. Flower

    .. and I thought they were simply celebrating my Birthday!

    Can I have a Higg’s discovery for Christmas, please, Please, PLEASE!!!!

  6. Gary Ansorge

    4. Murff:

    She’s probably not as happy as the males, because what THEY’RE going on about is the girl on stage,,,

    LHC? What? Oh! Never mind.

    So, what’s first on the agenda? Nuetralinos, Higgs Boson, micro-black holes or something even more interesting?

    GAry 7

  7. jest

    I was stunned to see a very level-headed post about CERN on CNN.com this morning. It was decently written, made NO mention of the stupid rumours on the internet, and actually explained in detail, the whole purpose of the machine.

    Someone clearly hacked CNN.com and placed this article on there. LOL.

  8. “Wow, they’ve chosen Baroness Catherine Ashton as High Representative for Foreign Affairs! I never saw that coming!”

  9. Levi in NY

    I do not see that picture on the link provided. Embiggening unpossible.

  10. That’s nice and all, but will the LHC do anything practical, like eliminating static cling or enlarging penises? Er, not that I have trouble with those. Well, one of them.

  11. ad

    To know how scientists truly feel, you just have to read their email.

  12. Dan

    But where’s Gordon Freeman? I can’t see him in those pictures!
    (http://blog.reddit.com/2008/11/crowbar-arrived-at-cern-freeman-was.html)
    I hope he didn’t lose his crowbar…

  13. DLC

    They’re trying to Destroy The Earth!
    but don’t worry, Trans-dimensional quantum water will save us!

    But seriously folks. This thing is mega-cool!
    Particle Physics FTW !

  14. I heard that the LHC will open a rift in the space-time continuum, allowing Nero to come through and drop red matter into Earth’s core. Granted, I was pretty buzzed on caffeine and laxatives at the time.

  15. Flying sardines

    I was hoping it’d take them until 2012 to get the LHC going just to see how silly the woo can get! ;-)

    Good news anyhow, I think!

  16. StevoR

    Assuming the LHC will destroy the world *how* do folks think it will do so?

    See the BAUT forum : http://www.bautforum.com/fun-n-games/95610-poll-how-will-lhc-end-world.html

    where I’ve put up a poll with options being :

    1.) By creating a black hole –

    1b) or strange (quark?) matter that will swallow the Earth /transfrorm it into a quark star the size of a pea or smaller.

    2) By opening a transdimensional portal opening us up to aliens

    2b. Future beings /

    2c.the hell dimension a.k.a. the ‘Doom’ scenario! ;-)

    3) Y’know how splitting the atom lead to the really Big bomb thingy & an earth shaking Kaboom!? Well splitting the Higgs boson = an even bigger literally Earth shattering KA Boom!

    3b) Chain reaction involving Higgs boson & its role re: mass ends up destroying gravity either planet-wide or entire cosmos …

    4) God. He really hates us messing with His particles! ;-)

    5) Sorry I’m a killjoy who just doesn’t buy that premise – the LHC just will not do the Apocalypse job!

    6) Other – please suggest in the comments.

    In case you’re wondering, yes, this is somewhat tongue in cheek. ;-)

    No refund will be provided should our planet fail to self-destruct on (“proper”) LHC activation & in event of Apocalypse occuring ..Well do you really you expect me to find away to pay up then? No bets!

  17. 4. Murff:

    She and the guy sitting to her left are part of the team from the future. They’ve given themselves away by not feigning jubilation to match that of the scientists.

  18. Kyle

    Don’t cross the streams.

  19. James

    But crossing the streams (or rather, aiming them right at each other) is the whole point of the LHC!

  20. StevoR:
    7) Instead of the Higgs Boson, they discover the Woo Boson, the source of all the woo-woo in the universe. It immediately expands and swallows up the Earth, but chokes when it gets to Jenny McCarthy and goes “Ping!” making the LHC the world’s most expensive machine that goes “Ping!”
    [Obligatory Monty Python reference.]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arCITMfxvEc

  21. Stephen

    @4 She’s probably a grad student that had her projected graduation delayed two years and is purely thinking “about damn time…”

  22. Ricky

    What!!! Nobody had an eyeball ripped out?

  23. 17. StevoR Says:
    3) Y’know how splitting the atom lead to the really Big bomb thingy & an earth shaking Kaboom!? Well splitting the Higgs boson = an even bigger literally Earth shattering KA Boom!

    I always WONDERED what that gadget Marvin the Martian had was…..

    J/P=?*

  24. dcsohl

    I can’t wait until the LHC triggers the FlashForward!

  25. Congratulations to the world! Science blazes on!

  26. Sticks

    So when is it going to sabotage itself from the future again?

  27. MadScientist

    BBC news just has to fuzz their facts though:

    “During 14 months of repairs dozens of giant superconducting magnets that accelerate particles at the speed of light had to be replaced.”

    Except for light itself, no particle is accelerated *to* the speed of light. Accelerating *at* the speed of light makes no sense (except perhaps if you’re talking about gravitational effects on light). The LHC doesn’t accelerate just any particle, it accelerates protons (and anti-protons); it would need some major changes to accelerate anything else since all the equipment is adjusted to deal with maintaining a beam of particles with the charge and mass of a proton, not to mention the particle source is designed to emit protons.

    It’s understandable that all the people involved would be excited; it’s been many many years of calculations, design, building and testing – and soon they may be able to start those experiments which they had planned over a decade ago. Of course it’s also nice to be able to claim that you could smash protons together so violently that they fall apart and spray other particles all over the place.

  28. Leander

    “Those unemotional, cold, calculating scientists. ”

    If they were (at least about science), science would advance much faster. Not sure why you’d not want them to be.

  29. samer
  30. StevoR

    @ 21. Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum Says:

    StevoR:
    7) Instead of the Higgs Boson, they discover the Woo Boson, the source of all the woo-woo in the universe. It immediately expands and swallows up the Earth, but chokes when it gets to Jenny McCarthy and goes “Ping!” making the LHC the world’s most expensive machine that goes “Ping!” [Obligatory Monty Python reference.]

    Nice one. LOL. :-)

    @ 24. Ricky Says:

    What!!! Nobody had an eyeball ripped out?

    I take it you’ve seen ‘Event Horizon’ then? ;-)

    @ 30. Leander Says:

    “Those unemotional, cold, calculating scientists. ”

    If they were (at least about science), science would advance much faster. Not sure why you’d not want them to be.

    Because they’re human?

    Not sure I agree with your premise there – passion – curiousity, a sense of wonder and joy at the cosmos is what makes & motivates a scientist, In My Humble Opinion Natch.

    Exhibit A – Carl Sagan, Exhibit B – Brian Cox, Exhibit C – Dr Phil Plait here! ;-)

    Also, why is calculating always seen as a “cold emotionless” thing to do? Can’t somebody calculate emotionally, joyously and with a twinkle in their eye?

    I think Einstein for one did so .. ;-)

  31. Jack Mitcham

    #30:

    I disagree. People tend to work harder and for longer hours on things they get emotionally excited about. If the scientists treated it like an ordinary 9-5 job, less would get done.

  32. I love the CERN photo. This will obviously be a battle to the death! Perhaps Monday Night Football will be followed by Tuesday Night Colliders.

  33. tiggerbone

    Ahem! My friends and I at the TeVatron would like not only to congratulate our colleagues at the LHC but also to remind the world that we are still cooler. Nyah! ;-)

  34. Steve in Dublin

    LoL, the lady in the bottom right corner doesn’t look all that thrilled!

    She’s Swiss.

  35. ND

    37. Steve in Dublin Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    LoL, the lady in the bottom right corner doesn’t look all that thrilled!

    She’s Swiss.
    ————————-

    Is this normal for Swiss? Are they like Vulcans or something?

  36. Steve in Dublin

    @ND #38

    Is this normal for Swiss? Are they like Vulcans or something?

    Something like that. I once saw a joke circulating in work that had traits for certain nationalities listed, but they were the exact opposite of what you would find in actuality. It was so far back I can’t recall all of it, but 3 that stuck out were (and I’m a Yank, so taking the piss out of myself here too):

    The organisational skills of an Italian
    The sincerity of an American
    The natural effervescence of a Swiss

    And so…

  37. PeteC

    @ND #34, Steve #35

    Being married to a Swiss (German) lady, I can assure you that rumours of them being passionless are most definitely not true… :)

    She’s probably Swiss (French) and thus all gallic and pouty :P

  38. Francisco Muller

    Well, let’s get serious for a moment. Will the LHC fail again? I am afraid that the real cause of previous failures have been minimized. In 2005 or so it was a pressure problem on the electromagnets. Last year they said was a badly soldered contact that melted. No matter what they say at bottom the theorists of the machine are ignoring a basic piece of classical science, none other than Newton’s 3rd law of action and reaction. Engineers might be smarter and have dwelt with it. But it is still to be seen if this blind spot in their theories is going to trick them again into destructive back reactions against the superconducting electromagnets. Cross your fingers and wait till the high energies are achieved.

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