LHC tunnel / Photograph Copyright CERN / Maximilien Brice © 2009-2017 CERN (License: CC-BY-SA-4.0)
Just as a wonderful piece of music or transcendental work of poetry, Science can also be an endless source of inspiration and wonder. Just think about the vastness of Deep Space, or the minuscule of quanta, and try not to be inspired. Imagine the expanding universe, the galaxies running away from us, at an ever-increasing speed and try not to feel amazed. You are a part of Human species, the only species known so far that is able to understand these facts about the Universe we live in.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator and a largest machine in the World. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers in circumference, as deep as 175 meters beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva, Switzerland. [Wikipedia]
Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they collide. The protons at LHC travel at about 0.999999990 the speed of light, only 3.1 m/s (11 km/h) slower than the speed of light. At this speed, it takes less than 90 microseconds for a proton to travel once around the main ring – a speed of about 11,000 revolutions per second. [Wikipedia]
But leaving numbers and statistics aside for the moment, this is the most awesome machine Humanity has ever built, not because it’s large, not because it’s huge, not because of the numbers, but because of the intent of all these thousands of scientists that spent years constructing it.
Image By Tighef - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32359317
The Large Hadron Collider is made so that humanity can study the tiniest objects of nature. Objects atoms are made of and … objects that those objects are made of. Humanity studies what matter itself is made of. In other words, the LHC enables us to study the very fundamentals of nature itself.
LHC did find the Higgs boson, the particle which is a proof for a Higgs field, a field responsible for giving mass to other particles, but that’s not the end of story. LHC still has a lot to offer. Experiments of the LHC may provide more direct clues about the Dark Matter, which will give humanity an increased understanding of the universe, for example, how exactly are galaxies held together.
The LHC at CERN enables physicists to go back in time and study the conditions similar to those in the Big Bang, to find the origins of matter, to provide insights about the Birth of our Universe.
When I think about the immensity of this project, the noble intent and that all this means being Human is something very special, I’m almost moved to tears. This is the kind of inspiration you can get from science. Thank you, guys, and keep doing it.