Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Large Hadron Collider creates mini Big Bang

Results from the experiment
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) succeeded in creating a minature Big Bang, after switching the particles used for its collisions from protons to lead ions.

The LHC recorded its first lead ion collisions through the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) on 7 November, producing an effect that has been closer than ever to remaking the conditions just moments after the universe was formed.

Up until this point, CERN had been using this energy-particle accelerator to collide protons, in order to find the Higgs Boson particle and find new physical laws, such as super symmetry.

Lead ions were used in this experiment, which are heavier than protons, meaning higher energy is necessary to circulate them, more likely to create the matter that the experiment needs.

Researchers hope these collisions will create a thick soup of matter called ‘quark-gluon plasma,’ the matter which existed just after the Big Bang.

Researchers will analyse the data obtained from the lead ion collisions for the next four weeks.

The LHC was launched in September 2008. It’s a 27-km long circular ring under the French Swiss border, located at about 100m underground.

It’s the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider with about 9,300 magnets within it.

The LHC had caused a lot of controversy over fears the experiment would trigger a Doomsday event.

However, scientists said the possibility of the Higgs Boson creating micro black holes that grow and swallow up the universe would be more or less impossible, considering the small chance there is of these holes being created. They also said they would pop out of existence just as quickly, too.


At least we didn't all die.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hillary Clinton praising Christchurch's earthquake efforts

Hillary Clinton safe from the horrible NZ weather.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised the Christchurch community for its efforts in getting the city back to normal after the earthquake.

Council staff, civil defence workers and emergency service representatives were among an audience of about 500 people invited to listen to Clinton at the Christchurch Town Hall this afternoon.

Clinton shook the hand of Sam Johnson, the student leader who organised groups of volunteers to help in the clean-up effort.

The hour-long public meeting heard questions about a handful of people in the audience including a young student from Rangi Ruru who asked Clinton about the risk of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Former National government finance minister Ruth Richardson also stood up to ask Clinton how she thought the world would be in her grandchildren's time.

Clinton said it was "a very profound question'' which she wished she was smart enough to answer it comprehensively.

Clinton opened the meeting with a big "kia ora".

Like her early engagement in Wellington, the meeting was unexpectedly brought forward by about half an hour, without explanation.

The meeting brought teachers, academics, students, business people and others to the Christchurch town hall for a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask the secretary questions.

The first question was about Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations.

Mrs Clinton opened the meeting acknowledging the difficulties faced by Christchurch in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake and praised the efforts of local leaders as well as Canterbury University students who used Facebook to gather a volunteer army.

She said the US sent its best wishes and was impressed by how the community responded.

"Americans admire your willingness to step up and do whatever is needed and do it with resilience.."

She also used her opening remarks to praise the work of New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan and referred to yesterday's Wellington Declaration, signed by the two governments, as a sign of the US wanting a broader and deeper relationship with New Zealand.

She also referred to the nuclear issue which has stood in the way of warmer relations between the two countries for the past 25 years.

"We don't agree on every issue ... and nuclear issues have divided us but we share a common goal."

Both countries were committed to creating a world without nuclear weapons, and there was an "enormous agenda" ahead of them, she said.

"New Zealand is highly admired by Americans who are intrigued by what you have built here, who are trying to understand rugby and the great attraction it holds and who are committed to learning more from New Zealand."


She was on a plane for an entire day to get here, and we had to go and let it rain on her.