Feeds

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Hadrons yes, collisions no. End of world to follow

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.