Monday, February 28, 2011

The universe will only fit in your Ipod for 13 seconds...

Note how small the man at the bottom looks...


Many of you already know what the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) is.  For those that don't, it is, simply put, the largest slingshot ever created by mankind.  It is a 17 mile long circular ring designed to sling protons or, if they're feeling really frisky, lead nuclei at each other at nearly the speed of light.  The particles, as you would expect, break apart rather furiously.  Scientists then use the equipment conveniently surrounding the crash site to learn things about the basic nature of matter and energy.

It's kind of the scientific equivalent of slamming two Ferraris (Ferrari's?? Ferrarii??) at each other then looking at photos of the motor wreckage to learn how the internal combustion engine works.  Except that in this case the wreckage promptly reassembles itself into a new Porsche, drives off at top speed and the leftover pieces quickly evaporate.  Therefore, there is a great need to take lots of pictures really quickly before the evidence of what makes up the smallest bits of the universe literally goes away.

Anyhow that generates enough data about the collision (pictures of the motor wreckage, if you will) to fill an 8 gigabyte Ipod every 13 seconds. It looks like the universe should probably invest in the 64 gig version...