“It’s a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way.”

The Large Hadron Collider at Cern set another new world record for particle accelerators on Friday with twin beams each at an energy of 3.5 trillion electronvolts (TeV) and, as the BBC notes, on Tuesday 30th March those beams will be made to collide. Btw, that’s still only half-maximum power. And there’ll be a live webcast of the event, LHC First Physics, on the Cern website from 8:30 to 18:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time) – 10.30am to 8pm local time. Then we might find out what the rest of the universe is made of… Or not… ANYhoo… Here’s the LHC News report

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  • I know I’m out of my class here (GCE General Science, 1956), but:

    It’s a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way

    doesn’t quite impress me as much as it was intended to.

    After all, an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters (let’s update that to word-processors) should produce the odd line of Shakespeare. [Go on: for once, click the hyperlink. You might even enjoy it.]

    So, fire an infinite number of needles from each coast, and sooner or later you achieve your collision. As far as I understand, that is what CERN are doing to an infinite number of innocent electrons.

    Or did I get it wrong, again?

  • lamhdearg

    without clicking, simpsons right?. if i remember right “it was the best of times it was the blurst of times”.

  • lamhdearg @ 08:38 PM:

    Nice try: no cee-gar. I think it’s even better than Springfield.

    In passing, I see I aged myself: so, correction: (GCE General Science, 1958).

  • lamhdearg

    On If you put 30 monkeys in, alternative answer, One fat monkey brown walls.sorry amend that, 30 years right, One dead monkey brown walls
    Sorry for lowering the tone, Most of this go’s way over my head, Two points though, And then i will post no more (on this subject) I hope these eggheads know what they are doing and dont blow up the world, And just to stir it up, English “The international language”.

  • Pete Baker


    Firstly, an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters (or even word-processors) would produce the complete works of Shakespeare, and indeed every other book ever written, on an infinite number of separate occasions.

    As for the ‘needles’ analogy, he’s talking about the beams.

    While technically they are not firing one individual particle directly at another, the beams of particles are tightly focussed and highly directed by thousands of magnets.

    And, for now, those are beams of protons.

  • Pete Baker


    Don’t worry. It’s not all going to disappear into a micro-black hole.

  • joeCanuck

    Slight misconception. They are not firing an infinite number (there are many infinities, BTW, not all the same size) but a pretty large number, nonetheless. Only some collide. They could not get every two needles to collide, not yet anyway.

  • joeCanuck

    And as Pete says, they are firing protons right now, one of the Hadrons. Electrons belong to the Lepton family.

  • Mark McGregor

    Of course, Pete has been unable to admit the Catholic accelerated particles kicked the living shit out the protestant ones.

  • Pete Baker


    Keep it on the other post[s].

  • Greenflag

    ‘ It’s not ALL ? going to disappear into a micro-black hole.’

    This is not comforting Pete ;). What’s with this not ALL ? How much exactly is this not all. While I may enjoy the momentary satisfaction of seeing that denizen of money launderers and secret banking service providers to the world’s criminal fraternities i.e Switzerland, disappear into a black hole this satisfaction is much reduced by the thought that I may follow the Alpine swine into the void ;(

  • Greenflag

    A more important ‘black hole’ will be receiving some attention very soon when Mr Milliband rises to deliver his pre electoral budgetary offerings ,

    Robert Peston is suggesting that anti-interventionist New Labour has – at the end of its third term in office – rediscovered an enthusiasm for intervening in the market before breakfast, lunch and tea.

    Lets hope so;)