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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Whizz for Atoms

I was sorry to hear the Large Hadron Collider looks likely to be out of action for some time. This exciting project is basically a kind of Alton Towers ride for sub-atomic particles; scientists are keenly interested in the by-products spewed out when two high velocity beams of protons are smashed together. The experiments will hopefully help to answer key questions about events shortly after the Big Bang occurred these events helped determine 'life, the universe and everything.' (To quote from the super computer Deep Thought's task in 'Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.' ) Physicists are hoping to find a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson, which will revolutionise our understanding of matter. Let's hope the Collider repairs proceed more quickly than expected.
Image of the Andromeda Galaxy from Sir R.S. Ball's 'Story of the Heavens,' 1893.

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