One Point Twenty-One Gigawatts

There’s a video of a wonderful lecture at the LIFT Conference in Geneva (“LIFT” doesn’t appear to stand for anything). The lecture is about the Large Hadron Collider, the new particle accelerator at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research—apparently no-one in particle physics knows how acronyms work.) The speaker, Brian Cox (X-Men 2—no, not that one) gives a very clear idea of the current state of particle physics. Since I graduated in 2004 I’ve paid very little attention to the whole field, so it was a good refresher for me.

To be honest, I think I just like any lecture where they get to throw around ridiculously large numbers, like describing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image (10,000 galaxies in a patch of sky 1% of the size of the visible moon), the amount of matter converted to energy by our Sun (four billion tonnes a second), or the energy of a beam of protons in the LHC less than the size of a dime (the same as the energy of an aircraft carrier travelling at 35mph).