Skepchick reader “NotReallyAlice” has come through with top secret photos from inside the CERN research center, where about four hours ago scientists successfully fired up the Large Hadron Collider.
Of course, it’s a joke — there just isn’t any danger of a black hole destroying the earth. More pics after the jump!
CMS stands for Compact Muon Solenoid, which as you know was Punky Brewster’s real name. It’s one of the four big experiments happening with the LHC, and is located in an underground cavern near Geneva. (The machine, not Punky Brewster. I’m not sure where she is at the moment.)
It’s called the CMS because it’s compact (which should not be mistaken for small, because the thing is honking), it’s optimized for studying muons (one of the sixteen elementary particles), and it has a magnet (known as a solenoid, because it’s a wire wrapped around a hunk of metal).
FYI, billions of particles will be unused. Right now, only one beam of particles is going, but once they fire up the other one and start smashing those babies into each other, they hope to see about 20 collisions among 200 billion particles. Thank goodness they’re recycling.
Find out more about the experiment and see cool pictures of the actual machinery on CERN’s web site. Also, because we live in the age of YouTube, you should head over there and search for the videos coming from the researchers on the experiment. Here’s one showing the successful launch of the LHC this morning:
Big thanks to NotReallyAlice and her truly awesome friend.