Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What is LHC@home?

      LHC@Home is a project used to simulate the actions of particles in the newly opened Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator.  They simulate what the particles will do so they can fine tune the real thing, which begs the question, why spend all that time and money building it if you can simulate it?  Must be the difference between sending probes into space and men to the moon.  (Or not!)

     I bet you're wondering, what's a hadron, why is it large, and why do they collide them?  A hadron is a
sub atomic particle.  There are different types of hadrons, but, I believe they are only using protons in this collider.  They smash them to break them apart and see what they are made of.  Also, colliding them raises small amounts of matter, say, two protons worth, to temperatures and energies that haven't been seen since the creation of the Universe, so the scientific data is very valuable.  Also, it's like when you were a kid, and you had a train set, and you made the trains crash into each other, except, the trains are protons, you smash them together at nearly the speed to light, and when they hit, you might just make a black hole, so it's a scientists childhood fantasy come true.  Oh, and why are the hadrons large?  Well, these are special protons, the size of a football field, that weigh more than...wait, what?  Oh.  Ok.  I'm being told that the large in Large Hadron Collider refers to the size of the collider and not the hadrons.  Ok, so, the collider is big.  Really, really big.


     Below is the original LHC@Home information from the old TEAM: Brian web site.  Any information found there is likely to be old, out of date, or no longer valid.As a matter of fact, the bit about the links being different is now downright inaccurate.  They still have two links for the two areas, but they are now two different, different links.  Trust no one! 

This is kind of unique. They are testing how the new CERN particle accelerator will work once it is built. Why? I'm not sure. However, there is tons of info about it on the LHC@Home Project website. This is different from all the other LHC@Home links as they all go to the page with project info on it and the above link goes to site with info about the project in general on it. Confused yet? Oh well, you can always click a link and read, if it is not what you are looking form try the other one. Good luck!

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