We are about half way trough this WTL Sprint @CERN, so I’ve decided to post something about my experience. Actually in this post I do not want to talk about our work, probably I’ll dedicate another article to it at the end of this week, but about one of the talks we had the opportunity to listen. On monday Ezio Todesco (CERN) gave us a talk about CERN history and magnets in LHC.
CERN, as an European organization, collects funds by each country involved, according to its gross national product. This is extremely important for scientific research since it is based on external funds: money do not rule the word, as they say, anyway it’s important that this is such a large scale project since without funds research would not keep going on. The fact that CERN was founded in 1954, immediately after WWII, as a centre for the nuclear research is a sign of the important feeling of founder states to change what had happened and the way science was used: this date can be seen as a turning point in science history.
The second part of the talk was dedicated to magnets in LHC. Why do we need magnets? Simplifying: to bend elementary particles trajectories in their run around the circle. Actually here I do not want to give a lesson about HEP or CERN’s instruments so let me sum up some important concepts: particles are accelerated and pushed to relativistic velocities, this has a direct consequence on magnets power since it has to be increased in order to avoid particles to follow linear trajectories; magnets in LHC are kept at extremely low temperatures (~2K) in order to allow superconductivity to take place. Last but not least we wonder to know which energy particles are pushed to. Since LHC run 2 took place in 2015, physicists are able to push particles up to energies of the oder of magnitude of the Tera electronvolt (1TeV).
How much is 1TeV? I mean, is it a huge energy or not? Actually it corresponds to the energy of a mosquito flying around, so it’s an extremely low value of energy. Clearly this comparison is purely meaningless, since here we are looking at a microscopic property (particles energy) with our macroscopic interpretation of the world, but it was a funny way to conclude this post 🙂