You are reading this so the world didn’t end when LHC was started up, but how does it work? News programs have given some information about it, and there is the cool viral LHC rap video which does a great job with the science, but doesn’t show the parts of the LHC or how they fit together to produce the energy needed.
Fortunately, YouTube also has this video of the LHC and its supporting cast:
- Injection chamber where hydrogen atoms are stripped of their electrons, turning them into protons.
- Linear accelerator, getting the protons up to 33% of the speed of light.
- The booster, a ring 57 meters in circumference, getting the protons up to 91% of the speed of light through pulsed acceleration.
- Proton synchrotron, another ring 628 meters in circumference, getting the protons up to 99.9% of the speed of light. The additional energy added to the protons now translates into mass, and their mass is increased to 25 times that of when they are at rest.
- Super proton synchrotron, yet another ring, this time 7 kilometers in circumference. It continues adding to the mass of the protons, bringing them to 400 times that of their mass at rest.
- And finally the major ring of the LHC, 27 kilometers in circumference. getting them up to 7000 times their rest mass.
The protons now get smashed into each other in the test chamber, where the forces replicate those of the Big Bang, and allow the scientists to see what kinds of particles are created, destroyed, how, when, and learn a little more about our universe.