LHC Machine Outreach

Interesting facts
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List of facts for the PPARC website. Compiled by Hazel Morris April 2004

Fact 3) The combined strands of the superconducting cable being produced for the LHC would go around the equator 6.8 times. If you added all the filaments of the strands together they would stretch to the sun and back 5 times with enough left over for a few trips to the moon.

Fact 4) Part of the LHC will be the world's largest fridge. It could hold 150 000 fridge full of sausages at a temperature colder than deep outer space.

Fact 5) The vacuum in the LHC is comparable to outer space, if it were a car tyre with a leak, there are so few gas molecules that it would take 10 000 years to go flat.

Fact 6) The ATLAS cavern could hold the nave of Notre Dam cathedral.

Fact 7) When the 27km long circular tunnel at CERN was excavated, between lake Geneva and the Jura mountain range, the two ends met up with just one centimetre of error.

Fact 8) LEP was sensitive to the departure of the TGV from Geneva train station, DC current feeds the tracks but the ground return is not good. The LEP electrical earthing network is a better conductor and so some of the train current returned back through the LEP vacuum chamber.

Fact 10) The Large Hadron Collider at CERN could be the most ambitious scientific undertaking ever. The results of LHC experiments will probably change our fundamental knowledge of the universe.

Fact 16) CERN is the world's largest laboratory dedicated to the pursuit of fundamental science.

Fact 17) Many of the parts for the ATLAS detector of the LHC were manufactured using the expertise of ex-arms scientists and factories, through collaboration with the International Science and Technology Centre.

Fact 21) If the Higgs boson exists the LHC will be able to make this particle detectable. Confirming or contradicting the first evidence of the Higgs particle is an exciting prospect!

Fact 22) The Nobel prize in physics has twice been awarded to scientists whose experiments were conducted at CERN. The laboratory also boasts several additional Nobel Laureates among its physicists.

Fact 24) On 1st October 2003 CERN and the California Institute of Technology set a new Internet Land Speed Record by transferring 1.1 terabytes of data in less than 30 minutes across 7000km of network. The equivalent of transferring a full length DVD movie in 7 seconds.

Fact 25) In 1984 CERN translator, Francois Siohan, entered the French Guinness Book of Records for cycling up hill. Between 6:15am and 7:15pm on 1st July, he climbed 8848m, the equivalent to Mount Everest, by cycling 13 times from Gex to La Faucille in the Jura mountain range.

Fact 26) In the 1960's CERN's main data network was the famous bicycle on line. Tapes of data were loaded into a basket on the bike and then rushed over to the computer centre.

Fact 29) The Grid is a service for sharing computer power and data storage capability over the Internet. Its ultimate aim is to turn the global network of computers into one vast computational resource.

Fact 30) Verification of the theory that explains why the sun shines - the weak force - is one of CERN's biggest achievements.

Fact 31) The discovery of the neutral current was announced at CERN in 1973. The theory was finally confirmed in 1983 with the direct observation of W and Z particles.

Fact 34) Since 1962, 38 heads of state have visited CERN.

Fact 40) The CERN Fire and Rescue remit covers 40km of underground tunnels, radiation and chemical risks as well as the buildings above ground. CERN firemen train in abseiling and rope rescue techniques in preparation for a tunnel emergency.

Fact 41) In 2003, 6.1% of traffic at Geneva International Airport was related to CERN, a total of 54 868 passengers.

Fact 42) X-ray and radiopharmaceutical techniques in medical imaging were developed by particle physicists, as was radiotherapy for cancer patients. 

Fact 43) Particle accelerators are used to dry the paint on soft drinks cans.

For the replacements (23, 35, 36, 44 and 45) and 7 novel facts

There are firemen of 9 different nationalities, Bulgarian, British, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Spanish and Italian tackling fires with the CERN fire brigade. When they are called out they only speak in French over the radio.

The moon and snow/water load on the Jura mountains flexed the earth's crust a little bit which alters the circumference of the LEP ring, in this way the orbit of the moon was detected by LEP.

Understanding all of the different forces of nature within one framework is one of the ultimate goals of physics. Decades of experiments at CERN are working towards this.

99.999999999999% of an atom's volume is empty space. If the proton were a pea, the electron would be in the back of the strands at Old Trafford.

When protons arrive in the LHC they are travelling at 0.999997828 times the speed of light. Each proton goes around the 27km ring over 11 000 times a second.

A nominal proton beam in the LHC will have an energy  equivalent to a person in a Subaru driving at 1700 kph.