Having a lot of interest for Space Physics, and therefore I try hard to follow what is happening at LHC and simplifying the language used in the communications coming out of LHC is a great help to me so I like to share them. The LHC is the world's biggest ever physics experiment, and by studying conditions close to those just after the big bang, it could solve some of science's deepest mysteries.
The multi Billion Euro Project is an attempt to dissect the early universe, by answering questions like:_
- Creating the conditions of dense state of matter thought to have filled the universe in its first nanoseconds by playing with the big partial smasher.
- Using the collider to move and collide heavy ions in its bid to explore the universe's first microseconds.
- Finding Evidence of supersymmetry (SUSY), a theory that helps solve several cosmological mysteries, as well as exotic new types of matter that may emerge from the experiments carried out at LHC.
Recent news on 7th of November 2010, with the new experiment is looking promising in unravelling some of the mysteries, but it is also adding to complexities in visualizing what was happening in our early universe. According to media reports, the results of the experiment have surprised physicists as they contradict the accepted view of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the creation of the universe, that the Big Bang threw out a superheated gas that clumped together to form matter.
Scientists working at the world's largest particle smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, in Switzerland, have discovered that an exotic soup more than 10 trillion degrees Celsius in temperature was created immediately after the birth of the universe.
This sticky, gloopy substance, known as a “quark-gluon plasma”, behaved like a hot liquid, according to their results. This provided the perfect environment for the first particles and atoms to form, which later led to the stars and galaxies that surround us today.
"In the very first instances of the universe, it was actually behaving like a very dense liquid," the Telegraph quoted Dr David Evans, a particle physicist at the University of Birmingham who is the UK's lead investigator in the experiment, as saying.
"These results are telling us about the evolution of the early universe, which inevitably will have had implications for how the universe looks today."
In the mean time I am trying to get my head around these experiments, the differences between Liquid/Gas/Plasma and how it relates to the early universe conditions is intriguing.
In my view what we call Gas or Liquid based on our every day observations, is far from the building blocks of the early universe. So how we can make analogies like this is a little beyond my understanding of our world. Physicists will soon have to decide what kind of particle smasher they want built after the LHC. Since most of these experiments require taxpayer’s money, I therefore share some of the public frustrations in understanding the language used to describe the work being done.