November 21st, 2010 by Kevin Mitchell
Today’s trip was to see where the superconducting magnets were tested before being installed into the collider tube. The complete circular tube is made up of about 10m sections like this, all joined together.
Remember there is roughly 27km of collider tube, so that means there are about 2700 of the tubes (see above) all connected together.That would be “easy “if they were just empty pipes. But the pipes carrythe 2 collider tubes inside them.
This is what is inside the big tube above.
The wires on the left hand side carry a very large amount of electric current so they turn into electromagnets. These magnets stop the beam of particles from escaping. The wires have to be kept at extremely low temperatures ( -150 degrees or lower) so liquid Helium is used.
The two opening in the middle here, are the actual beam pipes ( they look like eye pieces on a pair of binoculars).
Before they fill the big pipe up with all the equipment, it look like this………..but they all do not have the good looking chap in them!
There was plenty more to see than I have posted over the last few days! The whole trip was awe-inspiring and some people have worked on the project for over 20years!
You may have heard that while I was there, they had managed to capture anti-matter for the first time ever, so I felt that I was right at the cutting edge of Scientific discovery!
It really is the most fascinating trip I have ever been on!
November 17th, 2010 by Kevin Mitchell
Some practical experiments where we all saw cosmic rays were carried out today! Cosmic rays hit the earth from space all the time, we only see them as the northern lights if we live near the north pole. We actually saw them in a cloud chamber that we built in a laboratory today! (See below)
Here we prepare the cloud chamber, and wait for the cosmic rays to hit! Hard to see here, but small wisps are seen in the evaporating liquid each time a cosmic ray passes through! Has to be seen to be believed! This evidence of radiation is what CERN is trying to detect after crashing particles together ( but on a much bigger scale).
Here one of the party is along side one of the accelerator tubes where the particles are sent at almost the speed of light! The result is a picture of the scattering of particles. I will try and post a picture of what this looks like tomorrow!
If the visit gets any better, I might just have to come back again with some students!
November 16th, 2010 by Kevin Mitchell
Arrived here, very wet and cold but the scenery is amazing!
The site looks just like any other industrial estate stretching over a huge site with detectors placed around the 27km circumference of the two tunnels where the particles whizz around 11,000 times every second.
But why do they do this?
If you want to find out what a car is made of, you need to take it apart bit by bit. Here they are trying to find out what all substances are made of.
But we know they are already made of atoms………..so the question is what are atoms made of?
Scientists already know that atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons…but what are the even smaller bits that these are made of?
This is the job that CERN does. Is smashes protons together and finds out what flies off. This way we can find out more about the substances around us and even clues that may tell us how the whole universe was created. In tomorrow’s lectures and tours we will be finding out more about how they do this and what results that have got so far.
Keep reading as the discoveries change daily!
November 9th, 2010 by Kevin Mitchell
This must be the most exciting conference I have ever been invited to go on. To see the most up to date technology that is helping Scientists to understand more about the materials our universe is made from, is something that most Science teachers dream of !
The trip, from 15th -19th November, has been fully funded by an “Enthuse” Award from the National Science Learning Centre.
I thought I would post this picture of exactly what I am going to see and hopefully understand how it works.
This is the size of the donut shaped tunnels in Geneva ! They send tiny particles ( smaller than atoms) around these tunnels, to smash into each other. From all the bits that fly off, the Scientists can see what these particles are made from.
I will post more once I reach Geneva.