Feeds

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Hadrons yes, collisions no. End of world to follow

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

All the world's media is going bananas over "first beam" day at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - the world's most stupendous particle-punisher, which switched on this morning (following an initial hiccup which appeared to be fixed by the traditional expedient of turning it off then on again). Today, it is being strongly implied, is the moment of truth - today is the big day, when the LHC might unmask the elusive "god particle" - or alternatively destroy the world and indeed perhaps the entire universe.

There's just one snag with all that - it's cobblers. All the good, interesting stuff from the LHC - the Higgs deiton, the dark matter, the possibly planet-gobbling black hole dimensional portal threat and/or universe-buster runaway strangelet or monopole soup plagues, dessert topping apocalypses etc - none of that's on offer today. All of these excellent possibilities require the LHC boffins to actually collide some hadrons - well, duh. The clue's in the name. But they aren't ready for that yet.

What's happening today is the inaugural, gentle bowling of some initial protons around the entire 27-km subterranean ultrachilled superconductor magno-track. That's your lot.

In coming months the underground Alpine boffinry chiefs, once happy that they have hadrons whipping round the big ring properly in one direction, will fire up the opposing stream going the other way.

Only then, once the two unprecedentedly puissant particle cannons are reliably ripping out clips of protons on full auto both clockwise and anticlockwise, will the real fun begin. Only then will the boffins begin to seriously meddle with the very fabric of the universe, as they possibly rashly cross the streams of the two colossal energy guns, ramming protons into one another at almost light speed. Thus far, we are told only that this will happen "by the end of the year".

Even then, it will be some little time more before nervous brainboxes actually turn the control known only* as "The Big Knob" right up, doubtless disregarding despairing warnings from their hunchbacked assistants with a cackle of insane laughter as they do so. Only then will the intensity of the LHC's criss-crossing proton or ion beams rise to previously unseen levels as the hurtling particles accelerate past the speeds previously achieved in earlier, lesser atom-smashers like the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

Only at that stage - probably a year or more from now - will the colliding protons be disintegrated with sufficient violence to produce the various treats we have been promised. Strangely perhaps, by then it seems a racing cert that the broadcasters will all have gone home, and the scribblers will mostly have ceased to file copy. Once the insane laughs begin to truly ring out in the LHC's underground caverns, once the mad scientists wipe the foam from their lips, roll up their sleeves, lock and load their outrageous particle guns and really start to show what they can do, the chances are that nobody will be watching.

But there will be at least one exception. The Reg hereby pledges to stay on the story, bringing you all the humonguous subterranean cavern magno-doughnut beam cannon news hot off the wires - perhaps with a garnish of hysterical rip-in-the-very-fabric-of-spacetime dimension portal angle here and there. As long as there's a universe to report from, we will continue to follow the Quest for the Big Answers. ®

*To us here on the Reg boffinry desk, anyway.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.