November 12, 2007
Germans to recreate the Big Bang with a massive particle acclerator
Scientists from over the world are headed to the German city of Darmstadt to kick off the construction of a new €1.2 billion particle accelerator. They plan to use the facility in an effort to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang. The Big Bang is the massive explosion of matter and energy that physicists think might have marked the birth of the universe. The scientists hope to create situations similar to the Big Bang in a controlled environment to figure out what actually happened and discover new data about the birth of our universe. German researchers along with their particle physics colleagues from over a dozen countries around the world have signed an agreement, which will eventually result in the construction of a massive new particle accelerator. “This laboratory will be recreating a mini version of the Big Bang,” Horst Stöcker, scientific director of the German Society for Heavy Ion Research (GSI), which will oversee the facility, told the news agency DPA. “The substance we will be making resembles that in the first microseconds of the Big Bang, when it was a million times hotter than the center of the sun. We’re talking a million times 10 million degrees Celsius.” The project is called the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) and will cost a total of €1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) with the German government dishing out 65 percent of the price tag. The rest will come from the state of Hesse and from the project’s international partners, which include Russia, India, Italy, Poland and China among others. The accelerator itself will have a circumference of over a kilometer and will be built 17 meters underground.
Through FAIR, scientists hope to obtain a better understanding of how matter came into being. By accelerating charged atomic nuclei to ultra-high speeds and shooting them into a metal foil, atomic debris will be created that may provide new insights into the forces holding atoms together. This project is different from the massive new particle accelerator currently nearing completion at CERN near Geneva in Switzerland. The CERN focuses on more on the intensity of its particle beam rather than on the speed achieved.
Via – PTI