We are all doomed, at least so think some conspiracy theorists.
The Large Hadron Collider is due to be switched on Today (10 Sep 08) and for the first time a proton beam will be sent right around the 27km device. According to Professor Brian Cox, interviewed on Enough Rope last night (transcript, audio and video (excerpt) available here), a second individual beam will be sent in the opposite direction a few weeks later. Then, if all goes well, some time later this year two beams will be simultaneously sent in opposite directions eventually colliding into each other.
The aim – to re-create what happened a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.
Interestingly Brian stated that the collision will produce the hottest temperature ever created on this planet. Also the cooling system creates one of the coldest places in the universe.
… there are colder places in little laboratories but it’s true to say that if there were no intelligent civilisations in the universe then there would be nowhere this cold.
The CERN First Beam web site will be webcasting the startup (can’t imagine it will be overly exciting, it’s not like we will see much – unless they create a massive black hole and we all get sucked into it 😀 ), the BBC UK will also be broadcasting the event if you live in the UK and are interested (details from the LHC UK site). I guess other local media will have some coverage on the nightly news.
Update 10/09/2008 12:15 AEST