大型强子对撞机成功创造迷你版“宇宙大爆炸”

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大型强子对撞机成功创造迷你版“宇宙大爆炸” 2010-11-11 04:51 (分类:默认分类)

大型强子对撞机成功创造迷你版宇宙大爆炸

欧洲大型强子对撞机内部(新浪科技 郭祎 摄于欧洲核子研究中心)

据《独立报》报道,科学家借助欧洲大型强子对撞机(LHC)成功完成了创造迷你版“宇宙大爆炸”的实验,产生了一个温度为太阳核心温度100万倍的火球。参与这个项目的英国科学家热烈庆祝了这个具有里程碑意义的实验。

大型强子对撞机创造了一个迷你版本的“宇宙大爆炸”,而宇宙正是诞生于大约140亿年前的大爆炸。参与大型强子对撞机项目ALICE铅离子对撞实验的英国科学家都在庆祝对撞实验取得成功,这将开启粒子物理学研究的新世纪。“迷你大爆炸”是通过令铅离子高速撞击产生的,撞击产生的温度是太阳核心温度的100万倍,重现了大爆炸后宇宙的瞬间状况。

ALICE离子对撞实验项目英国小组成员、伯明翰大学物理学家戴维·埃文斯博士说:“我们对这一成就激动万分。对撞实验产生了迷你版本的宇宙大爆炸以及在实验中取得的有史以来的最高温度和密度。这个过程发生在一个安全、可控的环境内,生成了炽热和稠密的亚原子火球,温度超过10万亿度,即太阳核心温度的100万倍。在这一温度下,连构成原子核的质子和中子也被融化了,产生称为‘夸克与胶子等离子体’的炽热而稠密的夸克与胶子汤。”

强大的磁体令铅离子以接近于光速的速度在地下数百英里的隧道内高速运转。铅离子以相反两个方面飞行,最后聚焦变成一个狭长的光束,被迫在ALICE探测器内撞击。科学家希望,通过夸克与胶子等离子体,可以让他们对强作用力有更多的了解。强作用力是自然界存在的四种基本作用力之一。

埃文斯说:“强作用力不仅使原子核牢牢地绑定在一起,而且还对它们98%的质量负责。我现在期待着研究大爆炸发生后瞬间构成宇宙的一小部分物质。”ALICE探测器是大型强子对撞机的组成部分。大型强子对撞机是世界上最大、能量最高的粒子加速器,旨在探究宇宙起源,它建在法国与瑞士边境地下一条16.7 英里(约合27公里)长的环形隧道内,由欧洲核子研究中心(Cern)负责管理。

大型强子对撞机共有4台探测器构成,它们分别安装在环形隧道的4个地下巨洞内,分布在大型强子对撞机周围。其中,ALICE探测器高16米、宽26米、重约1万吨。来自全球30个国家100个科研机构的大约1000位物理学家和工程师参与了ALICE实验。英国方面有8位物理学家和工程师以及7名来自伯明翰大学的博士生参与了这个项目。在铅原子核撞击期间,ALICE探测器以每秒1.2千兆字节的速度下载数据,生成相当于300万张CD存储的信息。

下面是独立报的相关报道

Large Hadron Collider creates miniature ‘big bangs’

PA

Monday, 8 November 2010

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Mini-versions of the “Big Bang” which gave birth to the universe almost 14 billion years ago have been created within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the giant machine probing the nature of matter near Geneva.

British scientists working on the LHC’s Alice experiment were today celebrating the achievement, which opens up a new era in particle physics research.

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The “Mini Bangs” were produced by smashing together lead ions – atoms of lead stripped of their electrons – together at enormous energies.

The collisions generated temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun, reproducing conditions not seen since just after the Big Bang.

Dr David Evans, a member of the UK team from the University of Birmingham, said: “We are thrilled with the achievement.

“The collisions generated mini Big Bangs and the highest temperatures and densities ever achieved in an experiment.

“This process took place in a safe, controlled environment generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over 10 trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

“At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma.”

Powerful magnets spun the lead ions round miles of underground tunnels at near the speed of light. Flying in opposite directions, the particles were focused into a narrow beam and forced to collide inside the massive Alice “detector”.

Scientists hope the quark-gluon plasma will allow them to learn more about the Strong Force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

“The Strong Force not only binds the nuclei of atoms together but is responsible for 98% of their mass,” said Dr Evans. “I now look forward to studying a tiny piece of what the universe was made of just a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.”

The Alice experiment is just one part of the LHC, whose circular beam tunnel runs for 27 kilometres (16.7 miles) 100 metres (328ft) below the French/Swiss border.

Four detectors sit in huge chambers at various points in the tunnel.

Alice is 16 metres (52.5ft) high, 26 metres (85.3ft) across and weighs around 10,000 tons.

The Alice experiment involves around 1,000 physicists and engineers from 100 institutes in 30 countries.

Britain’s contribution includes eight physicists and engineers and seven PhD students from the University of Birmingham.

During the lead nuclei collisions Alice will download data at a rate of 1.2 gigabytes per second, producing the equivalent of more than three million CDs-worth of recorded information.

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