back to article CERN completes 'world’s largest jigsaw puzzle'

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) last Friday lowered into position the final major component of its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - a 100-tonne "small" wheel which forms part of the ATLAS muon spectrometer. The last piece of the "world’s largest jigsaw puzzle", as CERN puts it, was lowered down the 100 metre …


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  1. Richard Thomas


    I've read Angels and Demons and I know that this will oinly lead to the Vatican being blown up. Foolish, foolish, scientists!

  2. Ash

    Two Words

    Resonance Cascade.

  3. John Woodhouse

    @ Ash

    Get the crowbar.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I haven't read the book, but you seem to be implying that blowing up the Vatican would be a *bad* thing.

  5. P. Lee

    Chewy says

    It isn't a jigsaw, they're building the Millennium Falcon.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Pete Silver badge

    I think I'll wait

    for some clever oriental to bring out the pocket-portable version.

    "ATLAS's role is to measure particles produced in proton-proton collisions within its 7000 tonne, 28,750 cubic metre bulk packing 100 million sensors"

  8. James Dyer

    A title should not be required

    They're going to end up creating a black hole, and sucking the whole solar system into it, which'd be a bit of a laugh really.

  9. goboy

    This sounds familiar

    Isnt this familiar with Half Life ? And Another World? Get ready.

  10. Darren Sandford


    John doesn't need to hear this, he's a trained professional.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Do we never learn? Did they not play Fade to Black?


    Mine is the one that haz Cheeezeburger in pokets..

    (Phew - meme'd out)

  12. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    All done then?

    And when the first sports-car driving idiot scientist decides to play with it at 3am during a stoem and gets himself blasted into another world?

  13. Mark

    The end of the world is nigh..

    Go nuts, before we all get sucked into that Black Hole they are about to create...

  14. david mccormick

    I normally...

    ... have to search around the house for the last piece of any jigsaw I do. I'd hate to see the size of the sofa they found that stuffed down.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    The 7 TeV war.

    Well, it's going to be October at least until you see first pp collisions.

    At, Peter Woit writes:

    _So, most optimistically, it looks like mid-late October is the earliest that 7 TeV collisions could be happening, right around the date of the official inauguration: October 21. More realistically, this may very well take until early 2009._

    No need to rush to your do-it-yourself store for that crowbar yet.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "They're waiting for you, Gordon...

    ... in the *test chamber*."

  17. Peter Barcroft

    Is it me or....

    Are they being a bit slap dash

    ATLAS's role is to measure particles produced in proton-proton collisions within its 7000 tonne, 28,750 cubic metre bulk packing 100 million sensors.

    CERN explains: "As particles pass through a magnetic field produced by superconducting magnets, this detector has the ability to accurately track them to the width of a human hair."

    Proton Size ~ 0.000000000000001 m

    Human Hair ~ 0.0001 m

    Anybody see some difference in scale?

    The previous posters were right it going to be Another World/Fade to Black/Half Life - do these scientist never play games???

  18. OpenSauce

    Looks very familiar

    Crowbar? Straight to the Gravity Gun I say ;-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better than Global Warming

    At least we all get a quick death - err how long does it take to get sucked into a black hole?

  20. Ross

    Two points

    [The LHC will, once operational, allow scientists to probe the mysteries of the universe, including dark matter, matter "as it existed close to the beginning of time" and possible extra dimensions of spacetime]

    Hands up if you think it's a good idea to do that on the planet you live on...

    [CERN explains: "As particles pass through a magnetic field produced by superconducting magnets, this detector has the ability to accurately track them to the width of a human hair."]

    Which is about as impressive as saying we have spent £x billion on a system that can track a car to within the width of the planet. Seriously, how many subatomic particles can you fit in the width of a human hair? By my (very poor research and maths) I make it 100,000,000,000. For a nucleon that is. This is my impressed face -> -.-

  21. Anonymous Cowherd

    PETA protest

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Atoms feel that this research could be performed perfectly well without killing innocent atoms.

    Show that you care for atoms by taking off your kit now.

  22. James

    That's no moon...

    Go Han, go!

  23. David Shaw

    @sports cars at 3am

    actually the Machine Operators (who do extensive shift-work) are the ones usually driving the sports cars. (It helps that with a 431K CERN number plate you can get a tax-free sports car!)

    I have done machine experiments at 3am with <> Yuri didn't drive a sports car.

    I prefer Ferney Voltaire to St.Genis-Pouilly (what will happen to the protons in November when the Swiss/EU border is dissolved??) (they currently have to pass the Douanes every 45microseconds!!)

    /don't need a coat, the skyshine keeps me warm

  24. Christopher Reeve's Horse
    Paris Hilton

    My god... It's full of stars...

    Christ's sake - for an IT related site there sure are a whole lot of scientifically challenged reprobates out there!

    'We're all going to get sucked into a black hole' - I suspect not.

    'How long does it take to get sucked in to a black hole?' - well... I guess that kind of depends how big it is... and also whether you're observing someone fall into a black hole or falling in to it yourself etc, etc, etc...

    As good as Half Life is, I can' really see some physicists playing it and suddenly worrying "Oh my god! What are we doing? I've gotta stop this crazy experiment.!"

    Are we all still so luddite that when any major technology comes round the corner we all start declaring the end of the world? Oh my god - It's a digital watch! This is where Skylab started! Run to the nuclear bunkers now!

    Paris - Coz I know where I'd like to accelerate my hadrons!

  25. The elephant in the room


    was another game involving me fixing the rift created by an accelerator accident. And voxels.


    I'll get my coat.

  26. Adam

    @ those who don't like the accuracy

    "As particles pass through a magnetic field produced by superconducting magnets, this detector has the ability to accurately track them to the width of a human hair."

    Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, anyone? The LAC is optimised to measure momentum, therefore delta-p is small and delta-x is correspondingly big.

    I can't be arsed to look anything up or calculate it though. Perhaps a bored Physics undergrad may wish to have a go?

  27. HFoster

    Dust off. Nuke the site from orbit.

    It's the only way to be safe.

    Mine's the one with the Weyland-Yutani insignia. Yes, I'm a Corporal. What of it?

  28. Ross

    Re: My god... It's full of stars...

    Umm it's a joke. They took a science story and added a computer angle to it. Geeks eh?...

    PS Computers != physics. Totally different areas.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    strange, charm, top, bottom... all inspired by me (and by my acting)

    what's to bet they name the force carrier for the next dimension a "Hilton"

    see me unfold in six dimensions (download available)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Measuring angles

    > Proton Size ~ 0.000000000000001 m

    > Human Hair ~ 0.0001 m

    That doesn't matter. What they're measuring are the angles at which the debris from the collision diverge. Being able to measure to of the order of microns at a distance of metres from the point of the collision gives a pretty fine angular resolution. Any imbalance in the angles may indicate "lost" energy due to undetected particles.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Just in case...

    I, for one, welcome our new Higgs boson overlords.

  32. ian

    Think of the poor Swiss

    The Swiss'll all be swept into an alternate reality. No need to worry about the French though, they are already in an alternate reality.

  33. Chris Stafford

    good odds on the destruction of switzerland

    Anybody interested in a little bet on the outcome? My money's on the end of life on earth:

  34. Will

    None of you know what you are talking about

    How can you argue about accuracy when you are not even using the correct units of measurement.

    "ATLAS's role is to measure particles produced in proton-proton collisions within its 7000 tonne, 28,750 cubic metre bulk packing 100 million sensors."

    Should read

    "ATLAS's role is to measure particles produced in proton-proton collisions within its 1666.6667 Kilo Jubs, 49916660.8792 bulgarian funbags - (C Cup Posh Spice bulk) packing 100 million sensors."

    Please pay attention to the details guys!!

  35. Adam Wynne
    Thumb Up


    I beg to differ. Writing code for BNFL I interpreted physycysts' (can't spell won't spell) specs and wrote code. In C++, no less. Blimey. Divide by zero errors happened. Phyzzy: But there will always be neutrons! Me: What, even when you havn't comissioned the reprocessing plant?

    But, for my 2p worth, I put my faith, and that of the entire world's humaity, in the fact that Hawking got it right and the micro-black holes will dissipate. Phew!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hello, Gordon...'s good to see you!

  37. Spider

    Are the stars right yet?

    "...The LHC will, once operational, allow scientists to probe the mysteries of the it existed close to the beginning of time and possible extra dimensions of spacetime..."

    ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn


  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Bets are on.

    I am giving odds of 10 million to one on the ends of the earth , any body what a dabble.

    Mind you you may have to wait a while for the sun to expand and engulf us.

  39. Pete

    Re: microns vs protons

    I was curious about the microns/protons difference too; I put it down to uncertainty and that they need to measure the speed too. Deriving root mean squares feels like work, but the AC suggestion of angles being of prime importance (and m vs µm) is pretty convincing as well.

  40. Phil Hill
    Jobs Horns

    Waste of Space-Time

    In an electric universe you don't need black holes, dark matter or any other wierd, invented, non-provable stuff. I think the only black hole they'll find is the one they're pouring money into.

  41. Jonathan Richards

    How long to get sucked in

    The answer, as someone points out, is different if you're doing it or watching it. If you're being sucked into a black hole, time dilates for you as you approach the event horizon, so that it may feel like a *very* long time. This is likely to be more unpleasant than boring; due to tidal forces your feet will weigh vastly more than your head (supposing you fall feet first, YMMV).

    I was going to contrast how different this would be to being sucked in by a Dan Brown novel, but I changed my mind.

  42. P.Nutt

    Listen to your mother!!!!!!!

    Remember when you mother told you not to mess with things you don't understand......Well this sounds like the perfect time to listen to her advice as this surely can only end in tears with some smug scientist saying "See I told you not to do it"

    Mine is the full charged HEV suit with the gravity gun.

  43. john Durrant
    Gates Horns

    "Nostradamus ate my hamster"

    Robert Rankin's "Nostradamus ate my hamster" has nothing on this. scary

  44. Jon Tocker

    I'm hoping...

    Some careless twat of a janitor leaves his cheese-and-egg sandwich and thermos in the middle of the thing so that when they switch it on flukish conditions cause it to function as a stable fusion generator, pumping out more energy than the initial charge they put in it (and remains pumping out power after they shut off the power feed to it) so the whole "renewable power source" argument gets consigned to the scrap-heap for good.

    Hey, it might happen... Bell was merely trying to make a more responsive telegraph when he accidentally revolutionised our lives.

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