There has been a lot of news lately about the;Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator in Europe. In particular there has been some talk that the LHC will destroy the Earth by creating a black hole. Firstly let me reassure you with a quote from a really smart guy, Stephen Hawking – ”if the LHC creates a small black hole it will evaporate and vanish harmlessly”. So there is nothing to worry about!
The physics behind the LHC is very confusing, but here is my attempt to help you understand it:
Matter is made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. The LHC will shoot protons around a circular tunnel 27 kilometers in circumference. They will then make the protons smash into each other. When the protons collide they will study the collision to learn more about the nature of the universe.
When they study the collisions the physicists hope that they will find:
- Dark matter. This is matter that we believe exists but we know nothing about it, and so far we have not been able to find it.
- Antimatter. Antimatter is stuff within the universe that is the equal and opposite of matter. It looks just like matter and acts just like matter, but cannot touch matter. When antimatter and matter touch each other they annihilate each other. A lot of scientists think that in the first few moments after the Big Bang there was both matter and antimatter mixing together. Since there was just a little bit more matter than antimatter, whatever was left over after most of the matter and antimatter annihilated into energy became the Universe we see today.
- Higgs boson. Also know as the “God Particle”, is the particle which gives everything mass.
If my explanations still have you scratching your head, maybe this rap video will help explain it a bit better:
If you are still worried about being sucked into a black hole you can find out what would happen to you if you fell into one here, and learn how to maximise your survival time if you ever do fall into a black hole here.
Also, if you would like to learn more about the LHC, like the fact that protons will take one ten-thousandth of a second to travel around the 27 kilometer ring, go here. To see some pictures of the LHC go here
——————— CERN IN 3 MINUTES ———————-