back to article CERN: LHC to fire first proton-smash ray next month

Scientists operating from a hollowed-out lair deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border have announced that their enormous, unprecedentedly powerful 27-kilometre proton cannon will shortly be ready to open fire. To be precise, "first beam" is scheduled for 10 September. Uncharacteristically, perhaps, the boffins made their …

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  1. Mark
    Stop

    I'm ready for Armageddon...

    The day before it's switched on, I'm going a GTA IV style rampage, seeing as the world is going to end the next day, when it's all sucked into the black hole...

  2. Hugo

    Chris Morris, Kevin Eldon & Simon Munnery at CERN

    Chris Morris recently popped down to CERN to have a look round.

    As did Kevin Eldon and Simon Munnery.

    Podcasts and articles here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.particle.physics2

    http://www.cernpodcast.com/?p=43

    http://www.cernpodcast.com/?p=14

  3. Xander
    Heart

    A title goes here

    <----- And an icon goes there

  4. cookieMonster

    Fantastic

    Well done Lewis, a great read . I'm looking forward to your report on what happens when this thing is actually fired up and the results are out.

  5. Dave
    Boffin

    Learning Experience

    What ever happens, we will learn something from this, if only that when two un-stoppable forces collide _nothing happens_

  6. The March Hare
    Go

    Press the button! press the button!

    and then a Delorean with Emmett Brown inside will appear inside the tunnel & ask for directions.....

    Green for Go icon - just for the hell of it..

  7. Angus Wood
    Happy

    And perhaps a Nobel Prize for Prof Hawking

    If memory serves me, should the existence of the Higgs Boson be proven by the LHC then Prof Hawking may be up for a nobel prize, which is nice.

    Excellent article, BTW, Lewis. I'm left wondering if this has anything to do with the "Henchmen Wanted" craigslist job ad from a few days ago.

  8. Pavlovs well trained dog
    Pirate

    credit card bills

    So, I shouldn't bother to pay my credit card bills, mortgage, car finance, etc at the end of the month then?

    schweeeet

  9. Sam

    @cookiemonster

    The report is already out, it got blasted back through time.

    It's charred at the edges, and it says "Oh shit!"

  10. Martin
    Thumb Up

    Magnetic Monopoles

    Can I be the Racing Car?

  11. Brian Morrison
    Alert

    Result storage...

    Analysing the data should prove interesting, apparently the LHC's experiments will be generating in excess of 700MB/s of data, so just getting it transported to where it will be analysed will be a feat in itself.

    Seagate stock will shortly be a buy I think

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Boffin

    Numbers of the beast, and then some...

    According to my (admittedly feeble) arithmetic, and assuming they'll want these things moving around somewhere close to the speed of light, that comes out at...

    666,666.666 rpm!

  13. Rik Silver badge

    Protocol dictates

    that not only they announce their plans by grabbing all broadcast channels at once, but also that they do so with a white Angora cat sitting on their lap. This seems not to have been the case either.

  14. Andy Taylor
    Coat

    Rents in the fabric of the Universe

    Aren't these something that Doctor Who fixes? I suggest that the LHC is checked for small blue wooden boxes immediately before firing starts.

    Mine's the one with the sonic screwdriver in the pocket.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have my plan...

    I-I-I'd have an, an Apache attack helicopter.

    I'd gan back to school. But first I'd take out the labs and then I'd type into the attack computer 'Mr Cragg, chemistry teacher'. Blow 'im to bits.

    And then I'd go looking for Tom Donaldson. I'd be hovering just down the road from his house, there. And he'd see us, but I'd duck down behind the trees, and he thinks he's safe, right? And he's just about to put the key in his front door, and I come up from behind the hedge, 'Hello, you bastard.' He panics, right? And he goes in the house, so I get the 30-millimetre canon and I take out the fish pond, coy carp in there couple of rounds each, right? And then I just tilt the helicopter over to one side and the machine-gun bullets is chewing up the drive, right? He comes out. 'Oh no! Not me Triumph Stag! I've just had it resprayed!' I cut it right in half, right? And then he goes, 'Ahhh!' He runs up on to the garage roof. I say, 'Right. This is for you, Tom.' He goes, 'No, no!' He's begging us, he's begging us man, 'No, please don't!' And then I fly off to Cornwall and I just smash in the sea in a big ball of flames.

  16. Mark

    "essentially incomprehensible machines"

    I find that statement essentially incomprehensible.

    The machines are entirely comprehensible:

    Charged particles.

    Accelerator ring.

    Lots of energy.

    Been producing these machines for decades. Nothing incomprehensible about the machines.

    Now if they don't produce a Higgs Boson but do produce items that have the scientists think "Huh. That's odd...", this will be unknown but not incomprehensible (unless God really is going to turn up and spell "Sorry for the inconvenience" for no reason.

    Strangelets may be essentially incomprehensibe and so may be micro black holes (because they are smaller than the smallest particle that science can tell us anything about). But they probably won't even turn up. Partly because they *are* incomprehensible and hence unlikely to exist in a universe that we have so far had great success in comprehending. Failing to comprehend *just right now* would be a little odd.

  17. Nick

    Re: Result storage...

    Brian Morrison wrote:

    "Analysing the data should prove interesting, apparently the LHC's experiments will be generating in excess of 700MB/s of data, so just getting it transported to where it will be analysed will be a feat in itself."

    Already taken care of:

    http://lcg.web.cern.ch/LCG/

  18. Richard Gadsden
    Boffin

    666,666 rpm

    Anyone want to check my maths? 300,000,000 m/s (c) / 27,000 m (circumference) =

    11,111 + 1/9. rps

    * 60 = 666,666 +2/3 rpm

    I'm sure Lewis can amuse us all with that one.

  19. Gianni Straniero
    Go

    You've done this one

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/24/lhc_safe/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/lhc_cern_hawaiian_botanist_lawsuit/

    Although this version has That Friday Feeling about it. As you were.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @brian

    they've got the grid for that. and it is quite a feat, but it's been tested and seems to work. Of course, getting the physicists to actually analyse the results might take a bit longer (given that I spend all day reading el reg and all).

    <--just in case it rains on the way back from the pub

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative Universes?

    Terrible, terrible possibility! Imagine Earth catapulted to a dimension where politicians are honest, people are paid for the work they actually do and motorists are curteous and understanding with each other ......

    Hmmmm. OK, so when can we flash this thing up again?!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @http://lcg.web.cern.ch/LCG/

    Oooh, can we run Halo 3 on that?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Number of the beast is 616

    Sorry to spoil the fun (really), it would have been much more interesting if it were true.

    Mines the white one with Gordon Freeman stitched above the breast pocket.

  24. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Other tech needed

    I hope there's a big lever involved and one of those jacob's ladder machines that goes bbbbzzZZT! bbbbzzZZT! in the background of Frankenstein movies.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Cheif scientist interviewed

    When to justify the experiment, he replied, "This is my ultimate victory!"

  26. Dangermouse
    Happy

    @Mark

    I'll be spending the day in bed with my girlfriend doing naughty stuff, but each to their own I suppose.

  27. James Tankersley Jr
    Alert

    Safety Rebuttal

    A number of PHD level theoretical scientists have questions about LHC Safety and are concern about more than just a few "theories" being destroyed.

    The most notable is Professor Dr. Otto E. Rossler, founder of Endophysics and most famous for his contributions to Chaos theory.

    Dr. Rossler refutes CERN's safety arguments and proposes that if micro black holes are created (some say the odds are 1 in 1000, others say the odds are closer to 1 in 2) they would grow large enough to threaten Earth in 50 months to 50 years.

    Got LHCFacts.org?

  28. DrStrangeLug
    Happy

    We have to send an agent from MI6

    Just so that the head scientist can claim that he's been expecting them .

  29. Ree

    boffinboffinboffinboffinboffinboffinboffinboffinoffinboffinboffinboffinboffinbo

    Could you use the word "boffin" one more time, please? Better yet, why don't you write the whole article in stoopid 5th-grade pseudo-jargon? Too cute by far.

  30. dervheid
    Happy

    all the shite jobs...

    now on the 'back burner' until late September then!

  31. Darren Sandford
    Boffin

    What's the worst that could happen?

    They're waiting for you Gordon...

    ...in the test chamber...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    well

    never have such clever people done something so monumentally stupid!

    i commend it!

    Paris as she also agrees its safe to switch on.

  33. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    @ Ree

    Boffin.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Nothing useful ...

    ... ever came out of CERN.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    This could be it

    If they set it off at exactly five past eight and 43.21 seconds you would have a very ominous sequence of numbers-

    10.9.8 7:65 (five past eight):43.21

    Be afraid.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Has no one else spotted a countdown?

    They're planning on hiting the switch on: -

    10 / 09 / 08

    If they choose to do it around 5 past 7 in the morning there is simply no help for us.

  37. pctechxp

    right

    I shant pay any off my bills at the end of this month then and when asked why will reply 'because I thought the world was going to end'

  38. archie lukas
    Coat

    Would a paper bag over my head help me?

    ...and should I hide under the table?

    We need to know these things!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Spelling checkers

    Isn't there just sooo much possibility of fun in respectable newspapers when spelling checkers get hold of hadron...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Stranger Than Fiction

    Firstly, @ Sarah Bee ........ LOL!

    Secondly, there's a great book by James P. Hogan, "Thrice Upon a Time", which sounds a bit like this. Warning: Spoiler follows .....

    ..

    ..

    A large collider creates micro black holes that orbit the Earth's centre of gravity ... right through the Earth and a few orbiting objects! Earth is doomed. But, in a twist of fate, a simultaneously developed experimental time machine allows a warning to be sent to save the Earth, but with tragic side consequences.

  41. Pete
    Heart

    When worlds collide

    Hey, I'm just along the road in Lausanne at the moment. Does anyone know if I can visit CERN and see the boffins at work for myself (i.e. with my own eyes, they don't need to work for me)? It's a pretty momentous experiment and I'd love to be in there at the start before it all goes horribly wrong, some marvellous scientific breakthrough is made or it just whimpers out with a wee bang. Can I? Please? Pretty please? I'll stand in the corner and not say anything, honest.

  42. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Spelling checkers

    Yes indeed, especially at publications who've seen fit to get rid of all their subs. I should start a scrapbook.

  43. n
    Linux

    No doubt...

    ...they will be held up by environMENTALISTS chaining themselves up in front of the beam complaining about the carbon footprint of the energy used.......

    Who will then be catapulted back in time by the beam to a hunter gatherer existance, where ironically, they will be pecked to death by endangered penguins due to a lack of boltcutters.

  44. James Monnett
    Alien

    a worse possibility

    Terrible, terrible possibility! Imagine Earth catapulted to a dimension where politicians are honest, people are paid for the work they actually do and motorists are curteous and understanding with each other ......

    Hmmmm. OK, so when can we flash this thing up again?!

    worse yet,

    What if we were transported into a alternate dimension filled with millions of Paris Hilton and Hillary Clinton Clones......................

    /shudders

    take your pick, dumb and vain or ugly and manipulative

    Alien, cause this one is right bloody out there

  45. Dave Newbold
    Go

    @Pete

    > Does anyone know if I can visit CERN and see the boffins at work for myself

    Yup.

    http://outreach.web.cern.ch/outreach/en/Visits/Intro-en.html

    Do drop in.

  46. Ian Moseley

    Cosmic Rays, anyone?

    Apparently the particles produced will be less powerful than cosmic rays that already reach Earth from the rest of the universe.

    Was it not CERN that invented the Web?

  47. Red Bren
    Dead Vulture

    Strangelet Soup

    I'm sure that's what comes out of the vending machine in my office.

  48. Rob

    @ Pete

    You missed the open day in April I'm afraid, unless you're a physicist I suspect it was the only time you would have been allowed inside.

    ps. I was there

    /boasts

  49. djw

    Life

    You should do a bit of reading on the subject.

  50. Michael
    Boffin

    @ AC: Stranger Than Fiction

    Sounds like the film version of the Time Machine. Where you can't change the past, because if you do, you remove your reason for building the time machine, hence creating a paradox.

    This leads me to my theory of reverse causality. I have a theory that events in the future can actually cause events in the past. For example, your wife dies, so you invent a time machine to go back and save her. But if you save her, then she wouldn't have died, and therefore no time machine would have been built.

    Theories regarding time travel generally suggest that there is one past timeline, and an infinite number of possible future timelines - one for every permutation of every choice that any entity makes. I would suggest that there are also infinite past timelines that we are unable to observe. By using a time machine to go into the past, one may be going into _this_ past, or possibly some _other_ past. But in all the possible pasts, the wife still dies, because the act of going back in time to save her actually causes her death to be unavoidable. Reverse causality.

    I have no idea if the math can even work, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

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