Monday, September 1, 2008

CERN Time Machine to start ticking on Sept 10th

GENEVA -I rarely stray from the main subject matter of my blog, but unless you've had your head buried in the sand during the summer vacations, you will realise that in just 9 days, the biggest scientific experiment ever planned will take place near the tranquil waters of Lake Leman in Geneva.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile long particle accelerator at the CERN facilities (home of the inventor of the www), will accelerate matter to 0.01% of the speed of light and will be switched on for around 10 hours. During this time, its beam will travel roughly twice the distance between Neptune and the Earth.

All of this is vaguely reminiscent of Star Wars, and the photo (credit:Maximilien Brice, © CERN) reinforces this impression.

Exactly what will happen when the enormous amount of energy required to fire the beam is unleashed is anyone's guess but, if I were you, I'd plan a full backup of your computer files for September 9th...

A webcast is available at CERN, which you can reach by clicking on the title of this post.