From the discovery of several new species of animals to new HIV strains, 2008 has been a year of great discovery. Yet, they all pale in comparison to this scientific image of 2008, that caused a bit of a stir among the scientific crowd.Claiming the title as the worlds largest and highest energy particle accelerator.
The Large Hadron Collider, (LHC for short), brought the promise of colliding opposing beams of protons and lead ions, both moving at the speed of light.
Managed and built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, LHC was indeed a scientific achievement. Although, it has been in design for years, this is the year it was finally put to the test.
Funded and built with a collaboration by over ten thousand scientists and engineers from over 100 different countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories, LHC is definitely something of great achievement in this setting.
However, with its bulky circular appearance, it looks like a live crafted dimensional gate from the Sci Fi
Channel, which will zoom scientist to an alternate universe and as adventurous as this sounds, it is not what it's for.
It's suppose to produce the elusive Higgs boson, which is the very last unobserved particle among other predicted by the Standard Model.
The first beam circled through the collider during the morning hours of September 10, 2008. With a successful fire of protons around the tunnel in stages of three kilometers at a time.This led LHC
to complete its first major successful test.
All in all, creating a discovery of events not seen since the creation of the Big Bang so to say.
Despite this great feat though, it caused a stir among people fearing that it could create a microscopic black hole that could endanger the earth or could create doomsday terror throughout the planet.
The idea of this happening is a discovery on its own. It sounds interesting at first but when you have a black hole about to swallow the earth. You tend to be a little more close minded about ground breaking discoveries and the like.
Safely to say, the world annihilation theory was debunked and physicists ensured that everything would be safe. However, LHC faced another problem.
An unexpected error dealing with a magnet quench on September 19, released a leak of six tons of liquid helium, which silenced LHC's performance for several month's.
This caused it to be halted for repairs until its next available tests, which will continue in the summer of 2009.
This truly a great discovery in the way and actions of particles and will continue to get even better as we draw one step closer to uncovering the secrets of the universe.