back to article Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Boffins at CERN are counting down the days until the rebuilt and now even more powerful Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator restarts this spring, following a two-year-long shut down. Until this point, the LHC's power had been intentionally limited for safety reasons, but now its fullawesome power can be unleashed …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    A top CERN researcher told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that the hunt was on for a supersymmetric particle

    That hunt has been on since the times of LEP.

    My bet is on "there won't be anything like that in the detectors, ever" and we are barking up the wrong unification tree.

    Anyway: GO GO GO.

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I agree in principle, but...

      The same was said of the Higgs Boson. They did find something like that, though.

      The cool thing is, even a negative result will be informative.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: I agree in principle, but...

        I think the overwhelming majority of particle physicists expected to find the Higgs, and the actual particle detected closely matches the consensus values for its mass (energy). Which was an impressive demonstration that the standard model works well in all regimes that we have access to, but an 'unexpected' result would have been (as always) much more interesting.

        Supersymmetry, is somewhat more controversial as a theory, and less prescriptive of possible mass ranges. So, not finding anything will not rule the theory out. Finding some actual new particles, however, would be quite exciting.

    2. illiad

      you dont understand scientists!!! They said there was NO CHANCE of earth-like planets, until they got observable proof they existed!!

      they are wishing and hoping for a supersymmetric particle, to answer their cosmic questions - just like you would wish for a special GF!!! :)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "They said there was NO CHANCE of earth-like planets"

        Well, first of all it would have to be a second Earth-like planet, since we know of one, and second, "they" != all scientists. I find it hard to believe that an objective scientist - as distinct from someone with a religious bias - would argue from (a) the Earth goes round a slightly above average star in a fairly common sort of location in a typical galaxy to (b) there won't be anywhere else like that. The principle of mediocrity (in the absence of evidence to the contrary, assume that observations are typical) applies.

      3. sisk Silver badge

        you dont understand scientists!!! They said there was NO CHANCE of earth-like planets, until they got observable proof they existed!!

        No reputable scientist has said that since Edwin Hubble spied Andromeda through a telescope, possibly before. The fact that there are other galaxies out there put a huge question mark over all the theories about this solar system being somehow unique 70 years before we observed our first exoplanet.

        1. illiad

          ... and *before* Edwin Hubble spied Andromeda ???

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Pint

      The Supersymmetry Bet: A bottle of Cognac can be won.

      This is an extension of the bet of 2000, whereby no Supersymmetric particles were discovered during the first LHC run but people just moaned "we haven't tried enough ENERGY yet", so ... replay!

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
        Joke

        people just moaned "we haven't tried enough ENERGY yet"

        Always my favourite method: It didn't work when I hit it, so hit it HARDER!

  2. petur
    Pint

    we need a black hole icon

    If possible a non-working copy, we don't want the page to be sucked into it

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: we need a black hole icon

      Well, that depends.

      Given the quality of some of the comment threads, a working black hole icon might be just the thing...

      1. Grikath Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: we need a black hole icon

        Just stack all the funny-cat-pics on top of each other.

    2. Chemist

      Re: we need a black hole icon

      "we don't want the page to be sucked into it"

      There used to be "The Journal of Irreproducible Results" which had that title on the front cover tailing-off into a waste-bin

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: we need a black hole icon

      silverlight

  3. run

    I am glad you're excited about this.

    But I believe it's the Large Hadron Collider, not the Large Hardon Collider as you have it.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: I am glad you're excited about this.

      You may want to read the last part of the article again, and the link in it.

      HTH

      Steven R

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: I am glad you're excited about this.

        Did anyone else read the sub-title as HADRON?

        Oh...

  4. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    What's the Fucking Point?

    Seriously.. do tell.

    Enquiring minds wish to be down voted.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: What's the Fucking Point?

      The large Hardon collider will soon tell us. How else are we to find the result of colliding two penises together at great speed? Short of sending Piers Morgan and Jeremy Kyle opposite ways round Silverstone...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Myself-NZ

          360Z

          Hmm, as far as eye no, Nissan made a 350Z (3.5 litre) and a 370Z (3.7 litre), never heard of the 360Z.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Sarah Balfour

        Re: What's the Fucking Point?

        Clarkson, too, please - oh PLEASE?!?! And can they all smash into Katie Hopkins…?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Misky
          Alert

          Re: What's the Fucking Point?

          But there is the slight chance that Clarkson and Hopkins might breed in the ensuing collision, the fears of the LHC creating a blackhole that engulfs the earth and ends humanity is mild by comparison.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the Fucking Point?

        Reminded me of Stephen Fry's definition of "countryside" as 'killing Piers Morgan'

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What's the Fucking Point?

      As Number 2 once said:

      "Information. We want information."

      One of the main goals in life is to find out WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. This is that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the Fucking Point?

        "Information. We want information."

        Which has led to the greatest actual progress - universities and their spinoffs, or people moaning "what's the point of it all?"

        Compared to the other stuff we spend money on - and that's before starting on the infinite pit of waste and destruction that we call "defence" - like patio heaters, fast cars, printing 50 shades of grey, The Daily Mail, tobacco, overeating, and growing lawns in unsuitable climates - the LHC is an absolute bargain.

    3. dan1980

      Re: What's the Fucking Point?

      @Camilla

      To find out what happens.

      If that's not enough of a reason to do something then perhaps you've been born into the wrong species. Curiosity and hungering after knowledge is kind of one of our defining characteristics and has helped us move from humble beginnings through to our present level of technological sophistication.

      Some of these advances have come from research that had no immediate practical application, or at least were not aimed at producing any practical advances.

      Take the research of Maxwell and, later, Hertz, who, amongst others, laid the ground-work that enabled Marconi to make his wireless telegraphy advances.

      Hertz was not driven by practical concerns and had no immediate thoughts of how Maxwell's waves might be used toward any 'useful' ends, remarking that it was of no use at all - he had proven that Maxwell was correct and so the waves were just there.

      For a more world-changing, though more delayed, example, see the development of quantum physics, which was simply about understanding the way things are, without any real concern for making those results do anything. Without that base, the transistor - arguably the most important invention of modern times - would be simply inconceivable.

      And even then, we don't need to look for direct benefits from the research because plenty can come from those advances made in solving the more practical problems of the operation. To take a similar situation, look at Facebook. has it advanced the world? No, but in solving the practical and economic concerns of providing the product, they have helped advance 'hyper-scale' computing.

      Likewise, we can look to the side benefits of the LHC and other accelerators, much of which has been in the direction of medical imaging, for obvious reasons. You might also be surprised to learn that Fermilab has been treating cancer patients with radioresistant tumors using neutron beams since 1976.

      I mean, really, why go to the moon? What did we learn, really? BUT, to get there, all manner of technical problems needed to be solved and that yielded a great deal of cool and useful stuff. It also produced people with new and specialised knowledge who go out into the 'real' world.

      I think dividing scientific enquiry into the practical and the theoretical, the useful and profitable from the vague and fruitless, is a disservice.

      Much more has been spent on much less.

  5. illiad

    hardon??? I thought you were taking about the latest Nicki minaj video for a mo.... :P :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZX4ooRsWs

  6. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Glad to see that...

    After a two-year hiatus, I'm glad to see that this domain is still going:

    http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Glad to see that...

      Not looked at the website, but I reckon it's worth having ping running against it permanently. Would need to get worried if the pings stop being returned, but at least I'd have some warning that the world is ending...

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Glad to see that...

        It may already have ended, but not in a way we'd know it. Remember the boffins who pushed the idea that the universe is an illusion or a hologram?

        1. Little Mouse

          Re: Glad to see that...

          Logically though it would be impossible for us to be discussing this in a universe where the end of the world had already happened. And if it did ever happen, we'd never know about it, so it can't happen. Or something.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glad to see that...

          "It may already have ended, but not in a way we'd know it. Remember the boffins who pushed the idea that the universe is an illusion or a hologram?"

          The extreme version of the Multiverse idea postulates that not only are there entire universes that are a simulation, but there must be identical universes to the simulations that are not simulations. So it is in principle impossible to tell if you live in a simulated universe or not.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: Glad to see that...

            So it is in principle impossible to tell if you live in a simulated universe or not.

            You simply watch out for power ups, or big floaty letters saying INSERT COIN...

            Oh that was easy. I'm just off to prove that black is white and white is black. I'll be careful of that zebra crossing.

  7. asdf Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    congrats

    Always amazing to see a multibillion dollar science project not mostly focused on finding a better way to kill the bad guys (as far I can tell). A rare thing these days. I guess the Euros (especially outside the UK) don't have quite the intense pressure from the defense contractors and their pet politicians to outsource the public science dollars to them.

    1. HPCJohn

      Re: congrats

      "Always amazing to see a multibillion dollar science project not mostly focused on finding a better way to kill the bad guys (as far I can tell)."

      asdf, that is EXACTLY why the CERN laboratory was set up in the 1950s, in the aftermath of the Second World War in Europe.

      http://timeline.web.cern.ch/timelines/The-history-of-CERN

      No military research takes place there, and having worked there I can say it is amazing to work with bright people from all over the world.

  8. James 51 Silver badge

    There has got to be a way to convince the BBC to create a documentary on CERN. It would be cool to see the various aspects of the operation in action.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Hollywood may have done a disservice to you on this; I suspect many people would find "button is pushed; numbers and diverging curves show up on screen shortly thereafter, while boffin passionately goes on about something no viewer understands" a lot less exciting that one might expect. I mean no mighty wind-up sound, no lightning enveloping the tubes, no earth-shattering kaboom...

      1. illiad

        and someone said " It will not die with a bang, but a whimper " Oh and BTW, 'Hollywood size' bangs are just that, a product of giant quantities of explosive, spread out so that each one happens after the other, as well as a lot of 'post production' editing... If you have seen Mythbusters, they tried blowing up a car, and the most explosion was 'phut!' ... even with gasoline spread all over the car!!

        Cue lots of explosive sticks *allover the car* not good enough...

    2. Don Dumb
      Thumb Up

      BBC Documentary

      @James 51 - I think that there was such a documentary, it may have been an edition of Horizon, a few years back certainly so my mind is hazy on details.

      I seem to remember Prof Cox, guiding the viewer around some of the bits of the LHC and also a documentary on the search for the Higgs-Boson that went around the LHC and talked to some of the academics working there. These may have been different documentaries they may have been the same single one, I reckon both were Horizons or similamp possibly still available on iPlayer.

    3. HPCJohn

      There was a Horizon documentary about CERN (ahem) years ago.

      (There have been several documentaries since then also.)

      It inspired one little boy to get a physics degree and go there to work on his PhD!

      I am a somewhat more grown up little boy these days.

  9. Chris G Silver badge

    Crash!

    A collision between two massive, high energy hard-ons within a hole in Switzerland could mean the end of the world as we know it.

    However, experience reading articles about high energy physics since the sixties tells me that whenever anyone confidently predicts there are no more particles to be found they will promptly find one or two more, or at least indications of such.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Crash!

      These new particles would presumably be the bollockons.

      There are 2 flavours of bollockon - left and right. Each particle also can be in one of several states, droopy, tight, salty and clean...

      The sweaty state is not yet fully understood, but is being investigated by a scientist called Dr Betty Swollocks.

  10. Conundrum1885

    Re. Crash!

    Some theories suggest that under certain conditions it might be possible to generate very short lived black holes (1 per second IIRC) using the LHC if a certain subset of M theory is correct ie compact extra dimensions.

    The intriguing aspect here is that as these micro BH's decay we could be able to unravel a lot of the unknowns in quantum gravity as well as proving that extra unseen dimensions do indeed exist.

    See http://www.livescience.com/27811-creating-mini-black-holes.html

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Re. Crash!

      I think this kind of faciness is now at bog paper stage; these "compact extra dimensions" need to be not-too-compact for this to work and there is scantno evidence of anything like that.

  11. Dr. G. Freeman

    The next stage of research, getting the biologists in

    http://www.lab-initio.com/screen_res/nz013.jpg

    But personally hoping we don't find anything, as means something cool and interesting is going on.

  12. Sarah Balfour

    The Higgs Boson has been found!

    Oh wait…

    http://himmapaan.deviantart.com/art/The-Hugs-Bison-313002479

    1. Martin Budden
      Joke

      Re: The Higgs Boson has been found!

      (This joke is best viewed in a Liverpudlian accent)

      Q. What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison? A. You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.

  13. tsyverain

    Question

    If a big bang is re-created, will the creators be gods? If so, as there will be not witnesses to the act, will our existence have been as there will no longer be any proof of it save the reverberations of the big bang? I can barely make sense of what I am asking. I hope you can catch the flavor of the question.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Question

      I hope you can catch the flavor of the question.

      All hope is lost.

      CERN controls very small particles using magnets, accelerates them to high speeds around a ring and then hits them in to other things very precisely to see what happens.

      These very small particles fly around us at high speeds all the time, its just without isolating and controlling them precisely then you don't know what has hit what else where, when and at what speed, and if you don't know that you can't tell anything from it.

      So back to your question...

      If a big bang is re-created, will the creators be gods?

      The big bang? The moment where all the matter that is, was and will ever be throughout existence was compressed in to the space the size of a pin prick? You're worried that a bunch of physics geeks firing two protons at each other in Switzerland will cause that to happen?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Question

        "The big bang? The moment where all the matter that is, was and will ever be throughout existence was compressed in to the space the size of a pin prick? You're worried that a bunch of physics geeks firing two protons at each other in Switzerland will cause that to happen?"

        I take it you aren't a fan of the multiverse idea or string theory?

        (Personally I don't think CERN is going to destroy the universe either - but some of the wilder ideas of theoretical cosmologists don't rule out micro-universes suddenly starting inside ours. At what point do we decide that theoretical speculation has now jumped the shark?)

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Question

          You're worried that a bunch of physics geeks firing two protons at each other in Switzerland will cause that to happen?

          But, but... what if they cause the universe to accidentally divide by zero?!?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Question

      I hope you can catch the flavor of the question.

      Yesh. Stop dropping mescaline and see a doctor in the morning.

    3. Gazareth

      Re: Question

      If a big bang is re-created, the universe will immediately disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

      This may have already happened.

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Question

        more bizarre and inexplicable

        Yes, they're all in politics.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Question

      Just don't cross the beams. That would be very bad.

  14. Michael Hoffmann
    Coat

    CERN Moff Tarkin

    You would prefer another target, a hadronic target? Then name the particle I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: *Where* is the supersymmetry?

  15. Tromos

    100 petabytes of additional storage

    How long is that gonna take to defrag?!?

    1. Gazareth

      Re: 100 petabytes of additional storage

      It's the 40m datapoints/sec that's boggling my mind :)

  16. Kaltern Silver badge

    LHC

    The place where theories just keep going round and round in circles...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LHC

      never been to an economics conference, then ...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even when some sciences are difficult to understand...

    ...they're still totes AMAZING.

  18. billse10
    Coat

    "turn the Big Knob right up"

    does it go to 11?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Alister Silver badge

    hundreds of engineers and technicians have been beavering away at repairs to allow the LHC to fire with nearly twice the energy of its previous run

    Curious phrasing: "repairs" suggests something was broken, whereas "upgrades" would probably be closer to the truth?

  20. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "Turning off the LHC has enabled up to find Higgs Boson" says scientist.

    "It had become lodged behind one of the magnets and we had to move a couple of filing cabinets to get to it. We couldn't do that until we had the keys and Dave from maintenance (who has the keys) accidentally got stuck tin the tunnel when we turned it on last time. He's been living on sandwiches and soda from the vending machines and the radiation hasn't affected him at all, except he can now see through time and teleport."

  21. tony2heads

    Turning it right

    YEAH

    Ours goes to 13 ! That beats Spinal Tap

  22. NomNomNom

    Does twice as much energy mean the black hole they inadvertently create will be twice as large, or does the inverse square law apply?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Custard

    I do hope there will be plenty of future articles speculating on the LHC turning the universe into custard / gluon plasma, creating micro black holes that might destroy the planet, ambushing itself from the future etc.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Custard

      If it could turn one half in to Apple and Blackberry Crumble and one half in to custard, that would approximate one of my happy places.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dipole?

    There's the problem. If they used monopole magnets, I bet they'd get incredible results

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