The Big Picture on LHC

By Phil Plait | November 23, 2009 7:35 am

bigpicture_cmsSpeaking of the LHC, the Boston Globe’s terrific feature The Big Picture has a slew of gorgeous pictures of the Large Hadron Collider up on the site.

These images, as beautiful and hi-res as they are, still cannot convey the awesome size and scale of the LHC. It’s been a year and a half since I stood there, 100 meters below of the surface of the Earth, gawking slack-jawed at ATLAS, CMS, and the other magnificent machinery, and it almost seems like a dream to me. But then I shake out of it and remember: this is what we do, and it’s real.

Secrets of the Universe? We humans figure that stuff out over coffee. What’s next?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures, Science

Comments (15)

  1. nobody

    Figuring out the secrets of the Universe in definitely cool but traveling to some distant star etc is so much much much cooler than any theoretical model, solved equation or accelerator. That’s what I was dreaming ever since I was young, but as it seems, it so not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

  2. John Baxter

    Images 3 and 4 are rather scary. Seems as if the total damage could have been worse than it was.

  3. Steve

    I did the pleb’s above-ground-only tour earlier this year and was disappointed that you couldn’t see more of this amazing machinery, but I can appreciate their security concerns. Can’t wait to see what they find! :)

  4. Andreas N

    Never say Never

    Maybe the LHC will tell us unexpected this about the space/time continuum that we had never expected. Who knows, maybe it will teach us about time travel and/or wormholes and intergalactic space-travel will be just around the corner ūüėČ

  5. Of course, any time the LHC is mentioned, we need to put a cautionary there!

    CREDIT: From

  6. Douglas Troy

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing the linkage Phil.

    Just the fact that ‘we’ are able to build something like the LHC is truly a remarkable scientific achievement in and of itself. Like many in the community, I can hardly wait to see what new and amazing things we learn from it.

  7. awesome pics, i would like to know how much metal the LHC contains, by the looks from pics ive seen, its a LOT

    ps. hit F11 on you keyboard to get a full screen view

  8. [Points down beam tunnel]

    “20 miles!”

    [Points other direction]

    “20 miles!”

    [Points up]

    “1200 levels! And 800 other shafts like this one!”

    – Jack

  9. Petrolonfire

    We humans figure that stuff out over coffee.

    Or a pint! Or a martini or botle or two of wine or spirits. Personally I prefer alcohol to caffine! ūüėČ

    Cool pic but I don’t get any sense of scale from it.

    Okay having checked the other photos there I’ve gotta say photo # 23 or #30 would be my ch0ice there rather than #11 which you chose. Photos #16 & #2 give a good idea of scale too.

    I also like the damage shot ( #4 ) & something about the guy in #8 reminds me of Dalek creator Davros .. ūüėČ

  10. David D.G.

    Jack @ #9, thank you for that! It’s one of my all-time favorite cinematic memories! I’m still getting goosebumps from those words ringing through my mind in Walter Pidgeon’s inimitable voice.

    ~David D.G.

  11. Blizno

    Human beings are amazingly wonderful animals.

    I am in awe of us.

  12. Douglas Killings

    Oh my gosh!

    Its the Yamato’s Wave Motion Gun!!!

  13. Arlo

    I am filled with nothing but awe, wonder and sheer envy at the fact that you stood in and around this collosal device. To think! Standing at the very site that destroyed the entire human race!

    I kid, but not abou tthe awe, wonder and sheer envy.

  14. @13. Douglas Killings : “Oh my gosh! Its the Yamato‚Äôs Wave Motion Gun!!!”

    Classic reference! LOL. 8)

    (Click on my name to witness the WMG in action.)


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