• Question: do you think that the people under france will be able to create the big bang again or a black hole. our teacher told us and we are all quite worried about it and dont really understand why they would want to kill everyone? can any of you explain why they are trying to make this experiment.

    Asked by whjamandellie to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 2 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 2 Jul 2012:

      I think your teacher might be talking about the people at the Large hadron collider which is situated underground and goes across the border between Switzerland and France.

      They definitely aren’t trying to kill us all (although I know lots of the newspapers claimed they were).

      Actually people were so worried that the scientists would be creating Black Holes that apparently there were even court cases questioning this. The main organisation overseeing the experiments actually held several investigations and they concluded that energies they will be operating with are too low (and some other stuff that I didn’t really understand to be honest)

      What they are actually doing (as far as I understand it) is firing tiny particles at each other so that they can recreate the conditions of the period just after the Big Bang. When the particles bang together other particles are created (it’s complicated and I don’t fully understand that bit) and the scientists are studying those particles.

    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      We know a lot about everyday physics now – we know what happens when two things bump into each other, we know how a bridge stays up, and so on. What we don’t know is what physics looks like at a very large scale (like the size of the whole universe) or at a very tiny scale (smaller than an atom).

      Studying the first one is pretty hard, but there are lots of projects looking into space trying to figure out what’s going on. Studying the second one, though, is really tricky. To look at things that are that tiny, you need to do some pretty funky things.

      The Large Hadron Collider, as Emma says, is all about looking at tiny, tiny particles in very specific situations! They need that huge device so they can smash atoms together and take a peek at what’s left over.

      I trust that they know what they’re doing! I hope we can find out more about the universe from their experiments.