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LHC on The History Channel

  1. Feb 27, 2008 #1
    The Next Big Bang
    Premieres Sunday, March 16th at 8:00pm EST on The History Channel

    (Check local listings for other dates and times.)

    This year, the largest, most powerful science experiment in history will be turned on. The "Large Hadron Collider" at the CERN laboratory in Geneva Switzerland was the brainchild of some of the greatest minds in modern physics. It cost $10 billion, is 17 miles around and its resulting data has the potential to explain why we and the Universe exist.

    Particle physicist David Kaplan guides viewers on an amazing journey involving the struggles to plan and build the LHC, how it was constructed and what are its mechanics. Dive into the history of particle physics and learn how science arrived at the doorstep of unveiling the mysteries of what occurred during first 3 microseconds after the big bang.

    This visually compelling documentary will explore some of the most puzzling questions in scientific history. What is dark matter? What are extra dimensions? Will they find the elusive Higgs boson...the god particle?

    They may find all the answers at the LHC, or they may find something completely new and unexpected. One thing is certain, whatever the scientists at the LHC discover, it is sure to be the Next Big Bang in physics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2
    Thanks for letting us know about this. It looks like a very interesting show. It brings up some questions that I was actually thinking about asking in this forum. Why was the LHC built? Why do scientists think all these new discoveries may be made? Also, this may be a stupid question, but why is it called the Large Hadron Collider? Is it because the collider is large, or because it will be colliding large hadrons?
  4. Feb 27, 2008 #3
    Glad you're interested in the show. I'm biased of course (being one of the producers) but it really is a terrific program. To answer your question, it is indeed called the "Large" Hadron Collider due to the size of the machine. The "Hadrons" are your basic hydrogen protons.
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4


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    mfgang why did you say: "The "Hadrons" are your basic hydrogen protons." ?

    i. Is not protons Hadrons for real?
    ii. Is there a difference between hydrogen protons and helium protons?

    another question:
    - Is it true that the Higgs boson(s) only explain the masses of the Z and W(+/-) bosons?

    I wrote boson(s) since supersymmetric models have more than one higgs particle.

    And to Sarah_Heck: Search for old threads about LHC :-)
    We had some just a couple of weeks ago.
  6. Feb 27, 2008 #5
    Hi there
    I will not even try to answer this question :biggrin:
    At least I have no time right now to make a decent answer.
    Excellent question :rofl:
    Seriously, it is a large collider of hadrons. The largeness of large collider compared to "regular" colliders is much more impressive than the largeness of "large hadrons" compared to "normal hadrons". Or is it....
  7. Feb 27, 2008 #6
    Hello Glenn,

    My statement about "your basic hydrogen protons" was in response to Sarah's question about what the "Large" in Large Hadron Collider stood for. They just happen to use Hydrogen protons because the Hydrogen atom is very simple and it is easy to extract the proton from it. As far as I know the only difference between Hydrogen and Helium protons is the number of them.

    I can't really answer your question about the Higgs. I am, after all just a tv producer, not a physicist and the Higgs was not really the focus of this particular show. We worked with many scientists who helped us out with the technical aspects.
  8. Feb 27, 2008 #7
    Indeed the mass of W and Z bosons is probably the most important feature of EW symmetry breaking via a Higgs mechanism (at first order - tree level - Z and W bosons masses are only related to the vev and not the Higgs boson mass)
    But, Higgs boson could also explain many other measurements; in fact all measurements where Higgs particle could enter through quantum fluctuactions.
  9. Feb 27, 2008 #8
    I can't help to make a few comments on the following. I hope my comments will not hurt anyone. Or do I...
    Science never answers to the question "why" but only to "how". "Why the Universe exists ?" for instance can be answered by "Because God wanted to" which is a complete (imaginative, non-scientific) answer or "Because there was a fluctuation in the primordial transcendental universe" which is an (also very imaginative, which might one day in the future be considered good) answer just bringing other "why" questions. It is clear from the beginning of this message that it is written in the purpose of advertisement. It is likely to have to face scientific critics on PF, at least if posted in this very subforum dedicated to scientific discussions.

    Dark matter is an astrophysics problem. Most likely the LHC can only solve it whithin the context of certain models. Extra-dimensions are predictions from a restricted part of string theory litterature. Other parts on this litterature do not require those extra-dimensions, and are sometimes considered more advanced ones (in particular, Witten's twistor-based non-commutative strings). Bringing string theory in the "High Energy, Nuclear, Particle Physics" subforum is maybe not very well suited, since active scientist in this field usually are in another subforum. As for the "God particle", such a name is very misleading. The two first items, "Dark matter" and "extra-dimensions" probably make the "Higgs-boson"-like excitations much less important than the rest of the models they come from. Actually, many people would agree that the worse scenario for the LHC is to find a single Higgs boson and nothing else, which is the very scenario justifying the name "God particle". The most interesting scenari would be if no Higgs boson is discovered from this point of view.
    This is probably the very only thing most people agree on :smile:
  10. Feb 27, 2008 #9
    Agreed with Malawi_glenn BTW, at least as I understand, about the statement that the Higgs boson(s) only explain the masses of the Z and W(+/-) bosons. It(They) do(es) not explain any fermion mass (they are merely couplings). Even worse, the mass around us on Earth is not explained at all by the Higgs boson(s), the mass around us is (almost) purely hadronic, some would say "in the glue".
  11. Feb 27, 2008 #10

    As they say in my business, there's no such thing as bad publicity. So, thanks for your comments.
  12. Feb 27, 2008 #11
    From the above advertising, I would personaly advice anybody willing to watch this show to not remember anything unless he will check the information and his own understanding somewhere else, either in the litterature, or here on PF for instance.

    To a certain extent, communication is essential for science. But too much communication can also hurt. The LHC has been communicating a lot. They will have to deliver. If they don't, they might be in trouble in the future to get money for their next projects. Those next projects supposidely are more important (money and science) than LHC.
  13. Feb 27, 2008 #12
    I'm having so much fun with this.
    A friend just suggested me that this is also probably wrong. Technically, LHC is far from being the "most powerful". Probably the "most powerful" experiment were done with nuclear weapons.

    Another instance of false scientific statement that will probably plague the entire show.

    My opinion, the only sane way to watch this show is on TiVo with a bunch of physics geeks pausing it to indicate how every single sentence can be misinterpreted. :rofl:

    Sorry, my purpose is not really to have people not watch this show, more to discourage advertising here.
  14. Feb 27, 2008 #13


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    largest should be IceCube right? :rolleyes:
  15. Mar 17, 2008 #14
    Has this aired?

    I wasn't home last night and didn't have my recorder set up. When I checked zap2it.com and History Channel's website they didn't even have the show listed for last night. Does anyone know if the show actually aired and when or if it'll air again?
  16. Mar 17, 2008 #15
    The show has been postponed for a week or two. There were 2 reasons. First and foremost some higher-ups at History decided that the show was being buried on Sunday night and felt they should find it a better slot during the week. Secondly, some executives thought it would be a good idea to send a crew back to CERN to shoot the start-up. We have informed them that there wouldn't be much of anything to see and it would be quite some time before there were any results to speak of. I believe those plans have been set aside. The show will most likely air sometime in the next couple of weeks. I will post the new air date for anyone who is interested. (to the folks who've made it perfectly clear that they are not interested please save your rants. Your point has been very well taken.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2008
  17. Mar 17, 2008 #16
    :rofl: :rofl:
    How dare you !?
    I can't wait to see your show anyway. It is most awaited I should tell you. We're gonna have so much fun.
  18. Mar 17, 2008 #17
    BTW, that's true I think. We had a presentation about it the other day and it is quite impressive. Very beautiful pictures and all. Not to compare to LHC, but I think it would make a good show for History Channels. Of course, Geneva is a much more pleasant place to spend vacations for producers...
  19. Mar 28, 2008 #18
    Has this aired yet, if it has or for when it does, where can i watch it as i dont get the history channel. Do you think anyone will record it and post it on the net? Thanks
  20. Mar 29, 2008 #19


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    I, for one, appreciate that you do something to popularize science a bit. I am a teacher and I am always glad when I have students who listenedn to some tv programs talking about physics and that got them interested and raised some questions that they want to ask me.

    However I do think also that it's important to check the accuracy of the commentaries. Were they written by particle physicists? If no,
    did you get some particle physicists to read the script and make comments before the final editing? I think that would be very important for a show like this.

    But I do think that it's important to convey some excitement about science to the general public. It's important to keep in mind thet the funding for fundamental research comes from the general public. So, as a particle physicist, I appreciate any effort made to popularize science, if it is done with some effort at accuracy.

  21. Mar 30, 2008 #20
    Not to worry, we consulted with many physicists both from from CERN and Fermilab as well as many of the top universities in the US.
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