The Big Bang Machine

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The Big Bang MachineProfessor Brian Cox visits Geneva to take a look around Cern's Large Hadron Collider before this vast, 27km long machine is sealed off and a simulation experiment begins to try and create the conditions that existed just a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Cox joins the scientists who hope that the LHC will change our understanding of the early universe and solve some of its mysteries.

News: Not to be thwarted by a few annoying speed bumps on the road to discovery, CERN scientists have successfully slammed accelerated protons together inside the giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in order to re-create conditions within the universe just moments after the Big Bang.

With two streams of particles travelling at close to the speed of light and moving around the giant ring-shaped accelerator in opposite directions, attending scientists at the CERN facility just outside Geneva created the very first collision at a little after 1100 GMT – causing widespread celebration amongst those who witnessed it.

"This opens the door to a totally new era of discovery,” enthused CERN's director of research Sergio Bertolucci via a video relay from the LHC facility. “It is a step into the unknown where we will find things we thought were there and perhaps things we didn't know existed."

Watch the full documentary now

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Ratings: 6.77/10 from 13 users.
  • WTC7

    An excellent documentary for those (like me) with very little knowledge of quantum physics. Finally, I also understand what the Large Hadron Collider is actually about & am really pleased :-).

  • Luke Wilson

    Has this machine done anything of any significance since it was launched acouple of years ago? Some people said it would cause a big hole that would destroy the world. Well the world is it here so i guess that didnt happen. Some people said it would find dark matter and prove the existance of all the fundamental particles. Well as far as am still aware none of that has happened. WHAT A HUGE CIRCULAR WASTE OF MONEY designed only to give physists orgasms!!

  • WTC7

    I think you are wrong Luke. If you followed the relevant recent events, you would know that the proton beams collision experiment succeeded on 30 March.

    But things don't work as you think they do. It could take a couple of years for the scientists to research the data obtained from the experiment and be in a position to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle.

    It would be nice if you watched the doc first or at least if you knew a few basic facts before posting a comment - they were not supposed to "prove the existence of ALL the fundamental particles" but just one - the Higgs boson, which is only theorized at this point. There are 16 basic particles of which we currently know (remember the Standard Model of Particle Physics in the doc?).

    The theoretical Higgs field and the missing mass in the Universe we can leave for after you watch it.

  • Chris

    It's been on for a couple of years? Try less than a month. This is something very important in physics. They aren't just going to do the experiment once and reap the results. Even if they manage to see the particle within the first month, they'll still run the thing numerous times to make sure they are correct. Believe it or not, that's how science works.

  • WTC7

    You are right Chris. I found that the scientists believe that, if the Standard Model is correct, they may be able to produce one Higgs boson particle every few hours, in which case the definitive confirmation on the existence of the "God particle" may come in a couple of years

  • Luke Wilson

    My apologies. i watched this acouple of years ago. It aired like in 2007-2008 on the bbc in england. I think you are mistaken chris. The hadron collider was officially launched awhile back in europe. However i agree with WTC7 that it will take them years to analyse any data they get and come up with conclusive conclusions. It might even take longer before the results are made public... Excuse my previous post.

  • WTC7

    Not a problem Luke :-)

  • Epicurus

    By Tudor Vieru, Science Editor

    December 15th, 2009

    Scientists at the CERN-operated Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have proudly announced the first scientific results from the world's largest physics experiment and particle accelerator. They publish the first study based entirely in the observations carried out at the Collider, on two opposite beams of protons, which continuously collide in the 27-kilometer-long tunnels underneath Geneva. The first-ever paper of the LHC team appears online in the European Physical Journal C, AlphaGalileo reports.

    The accelerator has had a long way to go to get here. Originally scheduled to be commissioned in September 2008, it suffered a massive glitch just a few days into its operation phase, and needed to be shut down for maintenance. It was only recently reopened, and it, only a few weeks ago, it broke the world record for the most powerful particle smasher ever. Now, with new safeguards set in place, everything appears to be running smoothly inside the $10-billion project.

    The commissioning of the instrument took place on November 23, when the first proton beams were injected in the tunnels, at their designed energy of 450GeV per beam. By 2011, the energy for each individual beam needs to climb as high as 7TeV, for a total combined power of no less than 14TeV. This is estimated to be well within the energy range of the elusive Higgs boson, the elementary particle that is to complete the Standard Model, when found. Particle physicists believe that it is responsible for turning energy into matter, and have therefore dubbed it “God's particle.”

    In the new study, more than 284 collisions took place in the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) instrument on the LHC, one of four massive particle detectors scattered around the tunnels. The team operating the instrument was able to determine the pseudorapidity density of the scattered beams, which is the average number of charged particles emitted perpendicular to the beam's own direction. The new study is important because it provides the experts with a way of establishing a reference for future collision results, through measurements of proton-antiproton interactions.

    Results thus far are in tune with previous observations of the same set of phenomena, the ALICE group reports. “This important benchmark test illustrates the excellent functioning and rapid progress of the LHC accelerator, and of both the hardware and software of the ALICE experiment, in this early start-up phase. LHC and its experiments have finally entered the phase of physics exploitation,” CERN and ALICE spokesperson Dr. Jurgen Schukraft says.

    LHC Turns on, Powers up to Record-Shattering 7 TeV Collision
    Jason Mick - March 30, 2010 8:52 AM

    Collider is operating at unbelievable levels of power

    There's an enormous amount of energy inside a single atom. Unleashing this energy has flattened cities and today provides 20 percent of our nation's power. But what if you could pack even more energy into a single proton, one of the positively charged particles that makes up the atom's nucleus?

    That's what researchers at CERN have done with their Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC accelerates protons with energies above 1 TeV -- equivalent to taking the energy from the 1023to 1024 atoms in a mosquito and putting it all in a single proton.

    Now the LHC is powering up even more in preparation to unlock some of the universe's most puzzling mysteries.

    The LHC first activated in September of 2008, but the ecstasy of the scientific community quickly turned to agony when an expensive malfunction lead to over a year of repairs. Last August those repairs wrapped up and in November the accelerator was brought back online. On November 30, 2009 it set the world record for particle collision energy, smashing together two proton beams with energies of 1.18 TeV, for a combined collision of 2.36 TeV.

    Today researchers at the LHC have tripled that collision energy, powering the beams up to 3.5 TeV each for a combined power of 7 TeV. That much energy has not been seen in particles since the days of the Big Bang -- the dawn of our universe.

    Even with the repairs, this was a daunting task, worthy of some of the world's brightest minds. States CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers, "With two beams at 3.5 TeV, we’re on the verge of launching the LHC physics programme. But we’ve still got a lot of work to do before collisions. Just lining the beams up is a challenge in itself: it’s a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way."

    CERN Director General Rolf Heuer cautioned, "The LHC is not a turnkey machine. The machine is working well, but we’re still very much in a commissioning phase and we have to recognize that the first attempt to collide is precisely that. It may take hours or even days to get collisions."

    However, the researchers' persistence paid off. The collisions started at 8:30 CEST and by 13:06 CEST they achieved the world's first 7 TeV collision.

    Where does dark energy come from? Are the forces of the universe all manifestations of a single unified force?

    The LHC's high energy collisions may eventually answer some of these questions. However, it will take years of analysis for physicists to put them in context. They are already working on the over 1 million collisions recorded at the LHC in 2009. Data from these collisions has been spread out across a computer grid, after being collected by the LHC's sensor packages -- ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb.

    Among the researchers' first priorities is to "re-discover" known Standard Model particles, such as electrons, photons, and quarks. Then they can turn their attention to the hunt for exotic particles like the theorized Higgs boson, nicknamed the "God Particle" by some in research community.

    there is lots of findings going on...i feel like i say this on every post but why do people with little to NO understanding in science keep making comments that they really shouldnt make.

    your ignorance on something is not an excuse to dismiss or insult it.

    if you dont know japanese you wouldnt correct a japanese person or pretend you have any idea what you are talking about. so just stop....

  • Epicurus

    you want to see a waste of money just look at every armed conflict within the last 60 years.

  • Fly Poster

    Epicurus, seeing as you mentioned the japanese, and armed conflict:

    "Woe is me."—Albert Einstein, upon hearing the news of the Hiroshima bombing

    Anyone else concerned about the possible military applications from the knowledge gained from the LHC?

  • WTC7

    Hi Epicurus,

    I remember you from the 'An Inconvenient Truth' thread. I wasn't impressed by you then, and I am not now. If you are referring in your post to Luke, you probably saw that he apologized for his initial comment, so no need to revive the closed chapter and spill insults. If you are referring to anyone else who posted above, you better think twice on whether you want to continue, as it is obvious that you yourself couldn't say much about the topic, so instead you used an article written by someone else. Why? Do you think you will appear smarter? Trust me, no, you won't.

  • WTC7

    Fly Poster,

    I think your question is more than legitimate. There aren't many scientific discoveries that haven't been used for military purposes. Do you have any information already about something concrete? I don't at this point but would be interested to do some research into the possibility.

  • Joe_nyc

    Flyposter, don't even say that. I think lot of people feel safer that LHC is in Europe rather than in USA.

  • Epicurus

    @WTC7 just because you are butthurt that i dont agree with your beliefs on 9/11 doesnt mean you ought to try and nitpick anything you can.

    first off my post used two recent articles to show that there certainly has been progress.

    second i used the articles and sourced them because they would be more credible than a random guy on here (me)

    third, the insults were not directed at anyone in particular and they arent actually insults. its just you being overly sensitive.

    and actually my post was a lot more clear than what you said. you claimed it would take a couple more years to figure out if they discovered the Higgs boson using they data they just acquired, however that collision was not nearly as much as they need for THAT type of research and they will be amping up the power soon.

    so dont just try and pick pointless fights because you want to play white knight. my advice to people, to stop posting about things they dont know in a negative manner. questions are fine. calling it a huge waste of money and claiming its intent to just amuse physicist is not fine. its childish.

    now asking if it has military applications....sure every scientific discovery almost does as WTC7 pointed out...but in no way should that stop us from doing the research. we just need to be careful and aware of the moral/ethical implications.

  • WTC7

    @ Epicurus

    It was environment, not 911 topic I referred to ;-)

  • http://hollynairn.co.uk Holly

    Amazing documentary I really enjoyed it. The LHC is so interesting I am just glad that in this day and age governments are still prepared to fund such a massive project without the definite knowledge that it will succeed. I wonder what the process was to get the funding and how the scientists had to convince various governments and organisations that it was a project worth pursuing as it does seem incredibly theoretical. Amazing wish I had done physics to a higher level. Also Brian Cox is a legend. Hopefully wonders of the solar system will come on here soon.

  • Epicurus

    lol good call it was the environment and global warming...but you got me. i also disagree with your 9/11 stance.

    however from what else i have seen you and I are often on the same page.

  • WTC7

    True, we are. And it's not bad to disagree :-), we learn more

  • Fly Poster

    great documentary, really enjoyed it. I would like to have a go in the LHR.

  • HaTe_MaChInE

    @Epicurus - Thank you for posting the articles... it was a good pickup to where the doc' left off. I agree with 90% of what you say 90% of the time, but your arguments fall a little flat with out proper capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc. I by no means am an expert writer but I do try. Nothing I love to see more then a good argument beautifully written.

    @Joe_nyc - I am actually very disappointed the the LHC was not built in the United States. Just another reminder that education and research are higher priorities for other countries. Plus the extra jobs would have been nice too.

    I think I read somewhere that for an american college to reserve the LHC for 8 hours was over 1.5 million dollars. Yeah I'm really happy that kind of industry isn't here and that only European militaries will have access to it. No wait... that's completely retarded!

  • Achems Razor

    Good doc.

  • Epicurus

    @Hate_Machine....I just hate worrying about grammar. Although if the point is lost because of that I really should probably try to be more careful.

    The reason I don't bother with it is because I feel I'm already spending more time than I should trying to educate people I know will most likely not listen. But like I said, if the message is lost than the whole point of the time wasted is completely for naught.

    I shall work on my grammar just for you!

    (damn, I should have just pretended English was my second language!)

  • SimontheSorceror

    Yaaah! for science Im more than happy that such grand experiments take place in Europe. Im one happy european taxpayer :)

  • elena

    This documentary its only effects and nothing really technical that has to do with the LHC.The host talks only about fantasies and what the LHC could do.I didn't learn almost nothing from this documentary. :)

  • Julien

    Love Documentaries like this! I hope this thing discovers many surprises for science. I'd like to know how they collide the beams together.. Reinforced mirror? The switch has to be almost as fast as the speed of light. Most likely an adjustment in the magnets. Just little things like that I wonder about. And as always I wish Carl Sagan was around to explain it to the public like only he could.

  • K.T

    Whoever calls this marvelous step towards greater knowledge a waste of money should check how much MORE money is spent on making guns that are never fired and to pay militaries ment only to bring destruction and hindrance in our evolution.

    If there is a way to feed everyone in the world, to make estimate resources better and to aquire more it surely aint through blowing each other up. I'd rather bet on scientific discoveries, for the science fiction of today is tomorrow's possibility.

  • jose

    maybe that machine is causing problem on the worl like earthqueke and volcano like is happening now on diferente country.sorry about my comment

  • Fly Poster

    jose, I would say that because volcano and earthquekes happened ,in the worl all through it's history, it's probably not the LHC, but being as we might live in an infinate universe, that means there might be infinate possiblities, so I am not ging to rule it out.

  • http://www.instinctualism.org PHILIP VAN DER MUDE

    the goal of science as i understand it is to help humanity , Correct? A worthy ideal touted for ages actually back to the birth of sciences in Realegions ...hmmmm intersting ( confusion is just divided atention study the arts of warfare , confuse and conquer the vidence trail of the USER of the majority , keep us enteratined was the gifted advise to the ruling class form the teachers of ROME)

    " and we will be like gods ...." promised EVE of myth the story details are nothing but the concepts important , In Unvierse time the last 5k years of huan science is nothing , but EGO when human felt it could control nature and thus bring about CITy only in few short sighted centurys be destroyed by that whihc it claimed to control, be god over !

    CERN is just good entertainment , i too was dazzled by science most of my life then i realized something my Grand father taught me sublty , a man of privildge the silver spoon folows us for centurys ( ending for me with his reble daughter sort of ) but his driver would take us out fishing ,,, leaving the world behind and we would feed from the bounty of the wilderness ...

    and recently i realized ... i honeslty can not FEED MYSELF ... not that i need to but i have lost the ablitly to ! Over just a few short years of worshipping the new diviity of science , i became dependant like the opium eaters of Eygpt and Amenhotep4's time ... addicted dependant on the sciences of the age , whihc are only EGO . To think we will ever be anything more tha nothing ( NO 1 THING ) ... to in fi nite whatever .

    given the vidence trail of the eefets of humanitys ego .... throwing rocks in the air where not real changes have occured ...we allow 10,000'sa of thousands of humans to die needlessy in w rold of pleanty to indulge our ENTERATINMENT and ego ..... so no changes , the rock will fall! the lie of the EVE spirit will bite us onece more ... how long we can create the illusion this time ? what 200 mor eyears 400 ? pass the PAZ ROMA 500 .... sure i am cool we can do that ( not ! )

    so ,, ahhh to the HIGGs and the Boson creating a sysmetical garden out of the UNTHINKABLE toa , that a brain that can only cope with . A brain of about 2 gigs of data per second , to cope and appreciate ,,,, the choas of the forest is sustainable and beyond the 2 gigs to aprreciate , so we create formal gardens and call it better than nature , only to have in time anture take them once more back for the next culture to discover as history . but EVE againis proven wrong we are not gods just pyschopaths driven by selfish entertainments.

  • TigersPaw

    PHILIP VAN DER MUDE
    Time for your med's ?

  • Kero

    Wow, some really stupid comments here. The LHC is not set to run 1 experiment. It is a particle accelerator with many applications, however the real headline grabber (they help to get funding btw) was the Higgs.

    This device is literally the single most complex instrument ever made by man so please don't get upset if it takes a few years to get it up and running correctly (not to mention at full capacity).
    Even then, teams will be vying for time with the machine and as many have pointed out, these experiments can take months, if not years to complete. Then someone has to sort through the data and make sense of it all....

    Good things come to those who wait etc etc...

    As someone said, if you think this is a waste of money you clearly haven't seen many defense budgets. This is furthering humanity. War is destroying it.
    Brian Cox is teaching it :)

  • Rob

    the beauty of science is it does not assume right or wrong, it simply investigates and experiments. This machine is simply away to generate repeatable experiments and prove that what we know is infinitely small compared to what we can still learn.

  • Rob

    PS big ups to kero, the other thing about this extremely expensive machine is it brings some of the worlds brightest and most intelligent scientists to one place and not just physicist’s, the moon landing is and will never compare to what is going on at cern.

  • Rob

    PHILIP VAN DER MUDE, unlike religon scince assumes nothing and seeks fact's also unlike religion scince has no ego it simple state's what it finds proven theory is with out bia's also unlike religion scicence never clams to know or not know if a creator exsit's the simple reason for this is no REPEATABLE method has been descovered to prove OR disprove any creator.

  • Rob

    ignorance is mental abuse

  • http://twitter.com/CR1SIS CR1SIS

    Wish i could see that in person

  • anuragawasthi

    I just wait desperately in all news concerning CERN,but nowadays not much of media coverage on the project,when I was young we had those Vedic books in my home and I used to read abt 'Bindu Sphota',and I use to dismiss it as some figment of imagination,and now Ithink that LHC will prove that if really this BIG BANG(Bindu Sphota) reallly existed or not

  • B111E

    Rob, not to disrespect you by ANY means. But have you ever met an evolutionist professor? They find/change facts to fit their theories, are some of the most egotistical sob's on the planet, and immediately call anyone who believes in a higher power as; uneducated, ignorant, lied to, and a plethora of other degrading things.

  • http://www.topdocumentaryfilms.com Epicurus

    and exactly how many evolution professors have you spoken with to be able to make this sweeping generalization?

    also there is no such thing as an "evolutionist professor"
    most professors come off as egotistical to people who are not used to being around people who know what they are talking about.

    so what are you even talking about?

  • Nakor420

    Ok NASA and particle physists are cozying up to one another because they are finding that particles act very similar to macroscopic objects in space. Now if they can "recreate" the big bang by COLLIDING particles, then it is quite posssible that the big bang is actually the "big smash" instead. I always thought the idea of the big bang coming out of a singularity didn't make any sense, considering that an object that is infinitely small and infinitely dense will also possess infinite gravitational force, and thus CANNOT expand. So I propose the big smash, the collision of two object in primordial space, of such immense size and scope, that they are beyond human perception. This also suggests the existance of TIME before the big bang. At one time man thought earth was the universe, then the solar system was all there was, then we discovered our galaxy, then we discovered other galaxys which became part of a whole, so now we view the universe as a big place full of galaxies. As history has shown us, our univers is most likely one of many universes in an even larger cosmic system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reavia-Vanover/100001739763315 Reavia Vanover

    this thing must of took LONG to make :3

  • john lee

    its good to go find out what is going on about Big Bang. but dont we have enough technology to feed people and make them house to live?
    I love this stuff, but i dont get it why they have to spend all this money to end up to war.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WZXAM5SEGAMJYB5YXIZ2NYRPWE Tod James

    it sounds like a nuclear bomb ha ha ha .

  • Warmech

    Didn't Nostradamus say something about, if you live in or around the area known as Geneva, run...?

  • Warmech

    I've been following this thing since they started building it, and anyone who says this is a waste of money can go back to the dark ages and die of bubonic plague while they pray to their invisible best friend to save them. Oh my science! Did i just bash religion? Yeppers! Never pass up the chance to point your finger and laugh at mass insanity.

  • jiggerj

    Cox said that before the big bang there was no space. That's not possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=559238085 Gorvie Tandon

    That is completely possible. There was no time before the big bang either. It just seems impossible because it's hard to wrap your head around the idea.

  • devlinwaugh

    String theory explains time before the big bang,time is infinite acording to string theory.I have problems with this as everything has to have a start and end,or is my interlect so poisoned by the education i recived from the 70s to the 90s that i have been crippled by the poor educational establishments my mind was formed in.I think the later is more realistic a child can learn anything quickly hard wired into a childs synapses,the educational system forced religion and laws into a solid state leaving the mind injured.I am so happy the internet is around and educational documentarys available for the next generations to expand mentaly.The national educational system is still closing minds as the basic teachers do not have the ability to teach at this level in a state school.

  • LIVEFROMLIMBO

    they found it!! check BBC news website

  • David Nightingale

    The Higgs-Boson?
    "We're making a copy from our original blueprints."
    Slartibartfast