What the Large Hadron Collider is doing - in a nutshell

2 Aug 2010

At www.physorg.com?print199730102.html the experiment at the Large Hadron Collider is described - and the objectives. This actually appears in an earlier posting but is not described in such simple layman's terms as in this article. A number of lead atoms travelling very near the speed of light will collide in the experiment, generating a fireball 100,000 times hotter than the core of the Sun. At that temperature protons and neutrons will dissolve into a particle soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma - a state of matter that is thought to have existed at the birth of the universe some 14 billion years ago, a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang. By watching this soup cool physicists hope to understnad the nature of matter - which makes up everything from galaxies to life forms.