Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe.

There

are

many

misconceptions

surrounding the Big Bang theory. For example, we tend to imagine a giant explosion.

Experts however say that there was no explosion; there was (and continues to be) an expansion. Rather than imagining a balloon popping and releasing its contents, imagine a balloon expanding: an

infinitesimally small balloon expanding to the size of our current universe.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from?

Singularities

are

zones

which

defy

our

current

understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called

"singularities."

Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know.

After

its

initial (the

appearance, Bang"),

it

apparently and

inflated

"Big

expanded

cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe.

It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown. This is the Big Bang theory.

Evidence for the Theory First of all, we are reasonably certain that the universe had a beginning.

Second, galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds proportional to their

distance. This is called "Hubble's Law," named after Edwin this Hubble (1889-1953) in 1929. of who This the

discovered observation

phenomenon the

supports

expansion

universe and suggests that the universe was once compacted.

Third, if the universe was initially very, very hot as the Big Bang suggests, we should be able to find some remnant of this heat. In 1965, Robert

Radioastronomers

Arno

Penzias

and

Wilson discovered a 2.725 degree Kelvin (-454.765 degree Fahrenheit, -270.425 degree Celsius) Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB) which pervades the observable universe.

This is thought to be the remnant which scientists were looking for. Penzias and

Wilson shared in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery.

Finally,

the

abundance

of

the

"light

elements" Hydrogen and Helium found in the observable universe are thought to support the Big Bang model of origins.

Big Bang Theory - What About God?

Any

discussion

of

the

Big

Bang

theory

would

be

incomplete without asking the question, what about God? This is because cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe) is an area where science and theology meet. Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. This fact begs the question: is there anything else which exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? We know that this universe had a beginning. Was God the "First Cause"?

Inside the Large Hadron Collider

At 8.30 am on September 10 2008 the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was switched on in Geneva. The LHC - the largest machine in the world was designed for collision of protons together at the highest energies ever achieved, recreating the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the 'Big Bang' at the start of the universe.

The LHC is attempting to discover how particles get their mass, a major objective for scientists exploring particle physics. It might be able to identify a possible particle known as the 'Higgs Boson' which was first theorized in 1964 by Peter Higgs, currently Professor Emeritus in Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh.

What is the LHC?
The protons will be accelerated in opposite directions in the Large Hadron Collider, an underground accelerator ring 27 kilometers in circumference at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Crashing together in the center of ATLAS, the particles will produce tiny fireballs of

primordial energy. LHC will recreate the conditions at the birth of the universe -- 30 million times a second. Relics of the early universe not seen since the universe cooled after the Big Bang 14 billion years ago will spring fleetingly to life again. The LHC is in effect a Big Bang Machine.

The

LHC

project

includes

scientists,

engineers and support staff from 111 nations combining state-of-the-art science and

engineering in one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted.

Particle

physicists

at

Glasgow are the

and

Edinburgh partners

Universities in some at for of the

major LHC

experiments Organization

European Research

Nuclear

(CERN) in Switzerland.

A mission to answer some of the most perplexing questions of the physical universe

Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's biggest atom smasher Built in a tunnel 100 metres (325 feet) below ground in a complex straddling the French-Swiss border, the LHC is designed to accelerate sub-atomic particles to nearly the speed of light and then smash them together replicating conditions which prevailed in split-seconds after the "Big Bang" that created the Universe 13.7 billion years ago.

The scientists want to send beams in both directions to create tiny collisions at nearly the speed of light, an attempt to recreate on a miniature scale the heat and energy after the Big Bang, a concept of the origin of the universe that dominates scientific thinking.

An underground representation of the Large Hadron Collider, which stretches for 27 kilometers

The four main points of interest that will be utilized during the LHC experiment

ATLAS during its beam pipe installation

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment at the Large in Hadron Spring Collider 2009, at the CERN. ATLAS

Starting

detector will search for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of

extraordinarily high energy.

ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped our universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate. The possible unknowns are • The origin of mass • Extra dimensions of space • Microscopic black holes • Evidence for dark matter candidates in the universe.

How big is ATLAS?
ATLAS is about 45 meters long, more than 25 meters high, and weighs about 7,000 tons. It is about half as big as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

It weighs the same as the Eiffel Tower or a hundred 747 empty jets.

ATLAS during its calorimeter installation

ATLAS during the installation of its detector

ATLAS Schedule 2008 and forward
10 September in 2008. -First splashes as of LHC

particles

the

ATLAS

detector

circulates first beams (in both directions). No collision events were planned, but the particles in the detector were used to debug and setup the detector.

October 2008

-

early

Spring

2009 --LHC

is

shutdown due to incident in the tunnel (described elsewhere) and then the planned winter

shutdown. During parts of this period, ATLAS will use cosmic ray events to commission and tune the detector. The winter shutdown was planned for cost savings and improvements to LHC and ATLAS.

Early Spring 2009 -- Startup of LHC and later first event collisions (colliding a beam with a given energy with the counter-rotating beam of the same energy). Previous world record is 2 TeV. This will lead to several months of intensive data taking before next winter shutdown. First papers with early results may come in late summer 2009.

Next 15-20 years -- Continued data taking with publication of results on an ongoing basis.