Higgs Bosonand my Ballpoint What is a teraelectronvoltand why the crisis forced LHC to find a Higgs boson Daniel Crespin
The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) speeds up atoms (a nucleus is an atomstripped of electrons) up to very large velocities. Atom beams crashagainst one another with energies up to 7 TeV, some 10 -6 J, or millionthjoule. How much energy is this?
In the International System the unit of energy is the joule, J in short.It is the work realized by a force of one newton (about 100 grams) alongone meter.It equals also the potential energy of a very large egg at one meter (threefeet) heigth. When falling, the potential energy of the egg transforms intokinetic energy until it hits the ground with an energy of 1,0 J.
1 J = 6.250.000.000.000.000.000 eV = 6.250.000 TeVAnother energy unit, a much smaller one, is the electronvolt, denoted eV.It is the energy an electron aquires when pushed by a one volt tension.A teraelectronvolt, abridged TeV, is one trillion (1012) electronvolts.One joule equals 6,25 × 1018 eV, same as 6,25 million TeV.
BIC Cristal ballpoints are among the cheapest. I have a blue one hereatop my desk. The cap of my BIC weights 1,0 grams (0,9 grams would bemore precise), the hundredth part of 100 grams …
… and one centimeter is the hundredth part of one meter.The cap, at one centimeter height above the desk, has potential energy equalto one hundredth of hundredth of a joule, or 10-4 J, one ten-thousandth joule,equal also to one ten-thousandth of the falling egg, and hundredfold the 10-6 Jof the LHC ...
… I let the cap go, it falls, bounces, makes noise, and stands still.In less than one second an energy amount of 10-4 J dissipated in the form ofsound and heat.But the 10-6 J of the LHC is 100 times less energy.What weights 100 times less than the cap?
A square piece of bond paper, 12 × 12 millimeters, when crumpled, becomesa small paper ball that has 2 millimeter diameter and weigths 1 centigram.Falling from 1 centimeter it hits the desk with almost inaudible noise andstops. This little falling paper ball has dissipated 7 TeV of energy. Sameenergy as atoms colliding inside the LHC.
The paper ball collides against the desk with energy 7 TeV.The atoms collide inside the LHC with energy 7 TeV.Furthermore, the LHC aims atoms toward a small volume wherecollisions can be seen as fireworks. These atomic collisions are more orless repeatable, and happen inside a laboratory where experiments canbe set up and measurements are taken.
= 3.000.000.000.000.000.000.000The atomic mass of lead is 208.The mass of the paper ball is 3 × 1021 times larger than the mass of anatom of lead.The paper ball weighs three billion trillion times more than one atom oflead.
Collision energies of 7 TeV, as inside the LHC, or when the small paper ballfalls one centimeter, and much larger energies up to 10.000.000 TeV, areobserved in cosmic rays, for example, the Oh-My-God particle, a naturalphenomenon.It seems unlikely the 7 TeV of the LHC will ever produce a planetarycatastrophe, as feared by some.
If the LHC could accelerate a 9mm caliber lead bullet (weighing 8 grams)providing all its atoms with an energy of 7 TeV the total energy would be3,85 megatons, triple the maximum energy of a B83, the most popular ofthermonuclear bombs. It would be a fearsome lead bomb.
Comparing the lead atoms accelerated by the LHC with hydrogenbombs is ridiculous, but can impress the naive and originates the mythof particles within the LHC having an enormous energy. After all, it isnot really that much, not even compared with cosmic rays.
Summing up, the LHC gives a small energy, as measured against energieswe humans use daily, to an extremely small particle, and does it in amore or less predictable, controllable, reproducible way, within alaboratory environment. Quite a technological feat.
The LHC is necessary in order to detect Higgs boson, a particle predictedby the standard theory and called God’s particle …
Even Stephen Hawking , a Pop Physics star and favorite of reporters,admitted he made a mistake when he thought that the LHC would not beable to observe any Higgs boson.
Predicting, searching and finding is expensive and risky …
The cost of building the LHC was ten billion dollars, yearly operationalcost is one billion dollars, and groups of theoretical physicists questionthe highly publicized finding.
In spite of an investment much higher than in the LHC,and of using all cutting edge technologies,it took 10 years to find out where Osama Bin Laden hid.
The Higgs boson has been predicted, and found by the LHC.Let’s hope they predict the electron. Why don’t they predict its charge andmass with paper and pencil. No cathode ray tubes, no oil mist. And sincethe electron was already found in 1897, the billions for a LLC (large leptoncollider) can be saved.
There was in Waxahachie, Texas, USA, a plan for a 20 TeV collider, theSuperconducting Super Collider, or SSC, a.k.a. Desertron. Projected since1983, with construction started in 1991, was canceled in 1993 due toexcessive overhead costs.
… in bed next to the USA, intensive care unit.
After years of prodromes, the economic crisis burst in Iceland, Ireland,Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, USA, etc.Politicians decided to rescue bankers, that finance their electioncampaigns, are overlords of media and originators of the crisis.
The economic shipwreck includes cuts in education …
… and many other social dramas daily reported by the press.
As was the case with Titanic passengers, second and third class citizenswill only have remaining available places, if any, in the few lifeboats.
In this political scenario leaders of the LHC announce that they found,with 95% certainty, God’s particle.
Development of scientific and technological knowledge is welcome. Butamid the economical crisis the LHC is a white elephant of 27 kilometerscircumference.
The LHC, according to its authorities, found Higgs boson. So much thebetter…The time of guillotining costs has arrived. Members of parliaments aredevoted to pleasing bankers. What would they do if after more than adecade and billions of financing, the LHC did not find something? TheLHC would take the neoliberal charette to the same fate than Louis XVIand Antoine Lavoisier.
And how regrettable if the LHC is used to originate new and terribleweapons, worse that the ones the world already suffers.
In contrast with Physics, there will neverbe a great 10 billion dollar undertakingin Biology, Chemistry, Engineering orMedicine, with social transcendenceand practical applications limited to themedia scene. For that money any sanesociety asks for a proportioned return ofservices that are necessary and cannotbe obtained with a smaller investment.
Let science be a useful activity for a more just and peaceful world.Daniel CrespinOteyeva, July 21, 2012danielcrespinbryden gmail.com
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