How to Make a Particle Accelerator, In Under 5 Minutes
An under-5-minute explanation of how you make a particle accelerators.
When we read about the latest in physics, we’re so excited by some strange new particle that we may take for granted the high-tech device that allowed physicists to make their discovery. We know vaguely what the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), for example, is — a particle accelerator — and we know where it is — beneath the France/Switzerland border near Geneva — and we know it smashes atoms after spinning them around a 27-kilometer ring. But how do they get those atoms moving? Do they just pour them into one end and shout, “go?”
In less than five minutes, one of the people who designs particle accelerators, Suzie Sheehy, explains how these amazing beasties work and how you build one. Well, not you, or me, but a team of very smart people like her.
The LHC is the largest machine in the world. Here’s just a bit about the thousands of magnets it contains to give you a sense of the collider’s scale, and of the tech involved. The LHC has 1232 15-meter dipole magnets to bend its particle beams, and 392 5-7-meter quadrupole magnets to focus them. Another kind of magnet pushes them together to increase their chances for a productive collision. Oh, also, the magnets have to be cooled down to ‑271.3°C, which is colder than outer space.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.
- Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
- These 10 novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
- The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, and hiding out in inner-city Newark.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.