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John Barrowman was invited to visit CERN on 2nd April, to take part in a podcast. He was accompanied by Scott, his in laws Sterling and Shelagh Gill and his manager Gavin Barker, and they were the guests of Dr Brian Cox.
The Large Hadron collider (LHC) at CERN is the largest scientific experiment ever attempted. The 27km-long machine can recreate the conditions that were present in the Universe less than a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, and it can do this 40 million times a second.
These mini-Big Bangs are surrounded by giant detectors, two of which are ATLAS and ALICE (the other two are called CMS and LHC-B). ATLAS is a general purpose detector – essentially a 7000 tonne, 20m high and 40m long digital camera, that takes pictures of the mini Big Bangs and looks for new particles and phenomena that would have been around in the Universe in those very early times.
ALICE is tuned to do something slightly different – it uses a detector which includes the wonderfully named Time Projection Chamber to look for a quark-gluon plasma, the strange state of matter that we believe filled the Universe in these very early times. The Quark-Gluon plasma is a kind of soup, out of which the normal matter that makes up our bodies, and all the stars and planets we see today, are made.
It was a new and very different experience for John.
For more on John Barrowman, please visit his official website.
Don’t miss the video of John at CERN.