Down In The LHC - The Problems
September 15, 2008

Last Wednesday, beneath the Earth’s surface, a group of scientists kicked off the largest experiment the world has ever seen. It’s been 20 years in the making and, finally, they turned it on… The Large Hadron Collider. The what, you ask?? The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is a particle accelerator that is deep beneath the border of France and Switzerland. With it, scientists hope to create a miniature “Big Bang” by smashing two protons together at 99.99978% of the speed of light. The theory is that this will release the particles within the proton that scientists have been hunting for, but as of yet, have been unable to find. These unseen particles (called Higgs-Boson) are thought to give mass to the majority of the universe.

The LHC is essentially a big ring with a circumference of 26,659 m. What is the area, in square meters, of a circle with a circumference equivalent to that of the LHC’s circumference? Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth.

The Collider also contains 9300 magnets. If those magnets are evenly spaced around the outer edge of the Collider, how many centimeters would be between the centers of two consecutive magnets on the outer edge? Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth.
The operating temperature of the LHC magnets is 1.9 Kelvin. A given temperature in Kelvin is 273 degrees higher than the same temperature in Celsius. Additionally, the relationship between degrees Celsius and degrees Fahrenheit is F = (9/5)C + 32. What is 1.9 Kelvin in degrees Fahrenheit? Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth.

When protons move through the LHC they are travelling at 0.9999978 times the speed of light. If each proton goes around the LHC ring 11,000 times in one second, how many times would the proton circle the earth in one second? (The circumference of the earth is 40,075.16 kilometers.) Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth.

The solutions to this week's problems will be posted on Monday, September 22nd, 2008.

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