recommended reading

Need to Test the World's Largest Particle Accelerator? Try a Ping-Pong Ball

Pollux/Shutterstock.com

The Large Hadron Collider, the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator in the world -- the thing some people once feared would destroy the Earth, and the thing which so far has not -- is a complicated piece of machinery. It is composed of eight straight sections joined together by eight arcs -- 17 miles in circumference, in all -- and it features more than 1,600 magnets that bend and focus beams of particles as they travel close to the speed of light. Imagine all the maintenance. And complicating things even more is the fact that the LHC, when it's operating, does so at a temperature well below freezing, which causes its many metal elements to contract ever-so-slightly. Occasionally, the contraction leads to equipment buckling and then bulging and, in turn, blocking particle beams.

Which is not good, when the whole purpose of your existence is to facilitate the movement of particle beams.

So scientists at CERN, as they overhaul the collider to prepare it for future research, need to test the LHC to make sure it offers a pothole-free path for the particles that travel it. And they have developed a delightfully low-tech tool for doing that: a ping-pong ball. 

Read more at The Atlantic.

(Image via Pollux/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.