Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Particle Accelerators Like The LHC Work.

The above video shows the best "layman" explanation for how particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), work that I have ever seen. I highly encourage you to watch it as it is very clear and straight forward.

Just remember, and this may be the most confusing part of the whole video, words like GeV and TeV refer to how much energy the particles have. Lets just say for particles to have that much energy is extraordinarily!


  1. In the blink of an eye...

    In a grain of sand...

  2. In France at an other accelerator, the GANIL, there is the creation of a French-American institute, the Fustipen (France-U.S. Theory Institute for Physics with Exotic Nuclei).

  3. I take some medicines currently :) , but I do not have something important, this is just prevention.

  4. Cartesian ,

    It would be great if you could get a job there.

  5. That is a very nice description of how it all works. The amazing thing to me is that they can control the rate of the impacts to get it down to a manageable number on average. It seems like most of the time you want only 1 collision in your detector at a time, but it seems like that would require either an incredibly small number of protons in the ring or some way to really limit the likelihood of a collision.

    Basically, this is an incredible exercise in not only physics but statistics and engineering as well.

  6. Nick,

    Yes, I also believe it is an engineering masterpiece as well. (Which is why I think it has taken so long to get it to work correctly.)

  7. Absolutely. Great explanation about how the whole thing works. It is amazing the type of engineering that has to be done to get to that level of precision. In one sense, it is just classical mechanics (ok, special-relativistic classical mechanics) to calculate the paths and timing and everything. However, when you look at how precisely everything is setup, it is truly amazing. Great post as always.

  8. For Joe:
    For the kind of job I want, it is important that I gain some international and communication experience, and this is what I am doing. It is well paid normally: thus science could be fairer with me.

  9. I can't help but notice the similarities to the NIF. The laser beams in NIF start out at the nano-joule level, travel through multiple stages of amplification to the mega-joule range, then blast a cryogenically cooled DT target to obtain ignition.

    Pretty cool stuff.


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