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Particle accelerator

  1. Dec 31, 2004 #1


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    How do particle accelerators contribute to physics? I know after you smash particles together, you get a bunch of resultant particles, and then they annihilate. But we've been doing that for a long time; we've observed many collisions, and many particles, so why do we keep smashing particles together?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2005 #2
    To study the behaviour of the intermediate particles which appear in these collisions as well as to discover new particles.
  4. Jan 1, 2005 #3


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    Every time we build a new generation of more powerful accelerators, and can pump more energy into the collisions, we find new things: new particles or new information about the ones that we already know about. Or we don't find things that we expected to find. Either way, the theorists get something to chew on.
  5. Jan 1, 2005 #4
    We can find new particles that can sometimes answer questions or at Cern they contain antimatter particles which are used in PET scanners. There are probably many uses I think they are just not obvious ones.
  6. Jan 3, 2005 #5


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    What types of particles do they actually smash together?
  7. Jan 3, 2005 #6


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    In a particle accelerator they accelerate particles for different purposes (even medical),while in particle collider,they smash them one another.
    Read the thread and especially post number 3 from here

  8. Jan 3, 2005 #7
    If momentum cause a curve in space, how much energy would it require for an accelerator to produce a signifficant curve, and if it can't be figured out using math can someone tell me how much energy a accelator uses?
  9. Jan 4, 2005 #8
    Accelerators have stacks of existing uses:

    Televisions - Every TV has a tiny accelerator in it.

    Medical scanners - Lots of medical scanners use accelerators

    Medical treatment - Recent cancer treatments use accelerator beams.

    (bio)chemistry research - I think Watson and Crick used an accelerator to discover DNA. More recently, the ISIS ring and the Diamond Electron Synchrotron have/will be used in the UK for chemistry research. Similar accelerators exist throughout the world.

    + plenty of stuff I don't really know much about like mass-spectrometry and carbon dating,

    Some extremely important spin-offs:
    Superconductor technology - was originally developed for accelerators.

    The internet - was developed for High Energy Physics research (co-developed by US Defence)

    Also many developments in cryogenic, rf, vacuum technologies...

    And some future uses:
    Fusion technology - is closely related to accelerator tech

    Safe disposal of nuclear waste - by exposing to high energy beams, nuclear waste can be made to decay more quickly
  10. Jan 4, 2005 #9
    ^ perhaps he meant the expensive ones with cutting edge detectors and all?
  11. Jan 4, 2005 #10
    In particular, some of the newer colliders may be able to detect particles posited to have large mass, namely the "superpartners" of supersymmetry theory. Quoting from a document I found on the web:

    "Most of the superpartners are expected to be too massive to produce with the energies available at today’s accelerators, but some may be within their reach. Energy frontier accelerators like the Tevatron and the LHC may discover some of the lighter superpartners and provide good evidence that physics is supersymmetric at very high particle energies, like those that prevailed in the early universe."


    The following document has a nice table that lays out the proposed superpartners for the known "ordinary" particles:

    http://thinkzone.wlonk.com/Physics/PartHyp.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  12. Jan 5, 2005 #11
    Yeah, but a bit of advertising for my field never hurts :smile:
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