Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atom Smashing

You probably saw the headlines earlier this month: Particle Accelerator Could Destroy the World! Apparently some scientists are worried that experiments conducted by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will create one or more black holes that would swallow the earth. That didn't happen during the initial tests, but then a glitch occurred and the whole thing had to be shut down for two months. Why such a long delay? Well, not only is CERN the world's largest particle physics laboratory, but its Large Hadron Collider is the largest cryogenic facility in the world, using 96 tons of liquid helium to cool the air to near absolute zero. It will take almost a month to warm the facility enough for technicians to make repairs, then another month to get the temperature back down. This isn't the first time CERN has made headlines: In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web here, bringing the world's first website online on August 6, 1991. Established in 1954, the laboratory is located below the suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. To see how you can visit CERN and learn more, please visit our website here.

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