Architect Charles Jencks, author of ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation’ visited CERN recently. His landscape work is inspired by fractals, genetics, chaos theory, waves and solitons. These themes are expanded in his own private garden, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, near Dumfries, Scotland.
(direct link here)
For more on Charles Jencks, please visit his website.
(direct link here)
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.
What’s this CERN Large Hadron Collier Podcast thing all about then?
Let’s take it a word at a time..
CERN: European Council for Nuclear Research (yes that would be ECNR in English but when in Switzerland do as the French do.)
Large: As in ‘It’s Big’. A 27 km circular tunnel 150 metres underground spanning the France/Switzerland border, around which are six detectors, it will be the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.
Hadron : A sub atomic nuclear particle, like a proton or neutron
Collider: Bangs together. In this case, protons traveling at a gnat’s whisker under the speed of light one way, colliding with protons traveling in the opposite direction.
Podcast: It’s a series of chat shows that gets delivered fresh to your computer.
So – take the biggest experiment in the history of the universe (well, this universe anyway). Take some well known people from all sorts of walks of life. Take a former keyboard player from D:Ream. Mix them altogether for half an hour or so ‘et viola’ as they say in Switzerland, serve up a cocktail of entertaining chat shows with a bit of particle physics thrown in. And you wouldn’t get that on Channel 4 would you?
Professor Brian Cox (for it was he on those keyboards at the Labour Election celebrations in 1997) is a particle physicist and part of the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Over the coming months leading up to the gradual ‘switching-on’ of the LHC, we’ll be inviting some of our media chums to see CERN and the LHC for themselves, and through their eyes and questions we’ll all be able to experience this totally awesome experiment and the most important science project of the 21st Century.
Here are some of the questions that the Large Hadron Collider aims to help answer over the coming years.
– What is Mass?
– What are dark matter and dark energy?
– Why is there so little anti-matter and so much matter? And does it matter?
– Does the so-called ‘God Particle’, the Higgs Boson, exist?
– Are there extra dimensions as suggested by String Theory?