Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC by the numbers

The largest particle accelerator in the world, which will feel its first full proton beams tomorrow, just oozes numerical hyperbole.

As the world's biggest particle accelerator prepares to crank up its proton beams, Nature rounds up the big numbers behind the mother of all atom smashers.

  • 27 kilometres = circumference of the LHC.
  • 50 kilometres per hour = speed limit for physicists on site.
LHCThe LHC: an endless source of superlatives ...CERN
  • 32 minutes = time taken by a law-abiding physicist to circle the ring.
  • ~1 billion kilometres per hour (99.9999991% the speed of light) = maximum proton speed around the ring.
  • One ten-thousandth of a second = time taken by proton to circle the ring.
  • 0.00000000047 grams = total mass of protons circulating in the LHC at any time.
  • 362 megajoules = collective energy of LHC's protons at top speed.
USS Ronald ReaganThe USS Ronald Reagan: certainly hefty, but not quite as energetic as the LHC's protons.US Navy
  • 88,000 tonnes = total weight of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
  • 361 megajoules = energy of the USS Ronald Regan when cruising at 5.6 knots.
  • US$4.1 billion = cost of building the LHC.
  • US$4.5 billion = cost of the USS Ronald Regan.
  • ~9,000 cubic metres = total volume of the LHC's major vacuum systems.
  • 4,650 cubic metres = interior volume of the Big Ben clock tower at Westminster.
  • 14 years = time taken to build LHC.
  • 13 years = time taken to build Big Ben.
big benThe clock tower at the Palace of Westminster: big, but only half the size of the LHC's tubes.punchstock
  • ~6 million = number of DVDs needed to hold all of the data generated by the LHC.
  • 6.9 kilometres = height of 4 million DVDs stacked on top of each other.
  • 4.8 kilometres = height of Mount Blanc.
  • 0.75 grams = amount of hydrogen needed to fill a party balloon.
  • 0.000000002 grams = amount of hydrogen consumed each day by the LHC.
  • ~1 million years = time needed for the LHC to use one party balloon's worth of hydrogen.
  • 10-13 atmospheres = vacuum of the LHC's beamline.
  • 10-12 atmospheres = atmospheric pressure on the Moon.
  • 8.3 tesla = top field strength of each of the LHC's 1232 superconducting dipole magnets.
  • 1 tesla = strength of a typical scrapyard electromagnet.
Original here

No comments: