Large Hadron Collider smashes another record
About a month ago, the LHC had set a previous record of 10 million collisions a second – this is now up ten-fold.
For those who don’t know any physics (shame on you :p ), the whole purpose of the LHC is to smash together hadrons, or subatomic particles that are made of quarks and are affected by the strong nuclear force. The strong nuclear force is the strongest of all the fundamental forces (SNF, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and gravity), but it only acts over distances on the order of 10^-15 metres, which is approximately the size of the nucleus. One of the hopes of the LHC is that the Higgs Boson, which is postulated to give objects mass, will be detected somewhere – by which they mean they need at least 15 detections. However, this is not it’s only purpose.
One other purpose is to try and figure out why gravity is so much weaker than the other forces: if the SNF is taken to have a relative strength of 1, the electromagnetic force has a relative strength of 1/137, the WNF is about 1/10^6 (one millionth), but gravity is 6*10^-39! That’s 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000006 of the strength of the SNF! And yet, gravity is the only force that scales up to the macroscopic world we’re all familiar with. Despite this, the particle that’s supposed to carry it, the graviton, has not yet been found. Well, I guess that’s something either the LHC or Fermilab might find.