Up until now the LHC (the big collider at CERN in Geneva) has been firing Protons (small particles that make up part of the centre of an atom).
But the LHC was always designed to fire big particles too. So now they are going to be firing Lead ions – charged atoms of Lead. Lead is a heavy material and it’s atoms are pretty heavy too. These collisions will be much bigger – so big they think they can make the inside of the collider have the same energy conditions as existed almost immediately after the big bang. A time when atoms (or even the parts of atoms) did not exist.
This should let us detect particles that have not existed for the age of the universe (about 14,000,000,000 years)
Although the tiny fireballs will only exist for a fleeting moment (less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a second) the temperatures will reach over ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun
At the temperatures generated, even protons and neutrons will melt, resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons – Dr David Evans, University of Birmingham.
Some of you might remember Dr David Evans from the talk he gave at de Ferrers during the 2009 Technology Show. He is the UK leader for one of the large experiments that are spread around the collider, called ALICE.
We hope to get more “real” scientists in to talk to us this year.
Source: BBC Website