back to article LHC boffins crank beams to 3.5 TeV redline

Big news from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) overnight. The titanic proton-punisher has once again smashed all records to achieve the most powerful particle beams ever generated by the human race, at energies of 3.5 Tera-electron-volts - the maximum redline power at which the mighty machine can currently be safely run. Slide …


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  1. Christoph

    So that's what happened!

    "much the same as if HMS Invincible had suddenly popped out of nowhere"

    So that's the origin of all those stories about time-travelling warships! When they switch it to full power the black hole it creates will rip open a gap in time.

    1. David Adams

      I've seen this before

      It's obviously what the Philadelphia Experiment was based on.

      Someone from the future got sent back in time and that's how the story started!

      1. Richard Scratcher

        The Philadelphia Experiment?

        Nah, it was "The Final Countdown" (1980) starring Dirk Kouglas.

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Negative reality inversion in dump core

    How do we know one isn't happening as we speak? Has anyone gone down to check for Xen monsters and suchlike?

    1. hplasm


      whilst the scientists slept, something stirred within the altered carbon..."

    2. John G Imrie

      Just remember

      To take your crowbar with you.

  3. stucs201

    7 TeV beams, which can be crossed

    They really didn't listen to the safety advice in ghostbusters did they?

  4. Max Sang

    Special relativity fail

    The energy in the beams, measured in GeV, really is the energy, not the velocity. Half the energy is half the energy. If the beam is at 3.5TeV rather than 7 it's still going near-as-dammit at the speed of light. Oh, and it's also proportional to the luminosity (brightness) of the beams - how many protons are in all the bunches. Which at this early stage is a tiny fraction of the maximum. The energy of a trundling Reliant Robin, perhaps.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Commentard Fail

      The total energy in the beams is the particle energy in GeV (normally called the beam energy) multiplied by the number of particles. at 7TeV this equates to the kinetic energy stored in an aircraft carrier at 12 knots. Relativity does not apply to things whose speed is measured in knots, they were excused.

      So, half the beam energy of 3.5TeV, assuming the same luminosity = number of protons, results in the aircraft carrier moving at root2 x 12 knots.

      In full running condition, dozens of individual beams are packed into a square lattice within the beam cross-section, Im not sure how many of these they are running right now. This aspect of the machine is incredibly clever - how they cool down the transverse momentum of the protons so that they stay in tight 0.5mm beams for 100 hours. This looks to be working, as the screenshot suggests - and is worthy of another Reg article.

      Keep up the good work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sounds complicated.

        Has it become one of those French aircraft carriers that can't go very fast? Why is the aircraft carrier in a tunnel? Aircraft carriers are not supposed to ram things. If the Swiss fund their Navy to build aircraft carriers in tunnels, that might explain the current importance of the Swiss Navy. Should the Swiss rethink their naval policy?

      2. jsp
        Thumb Up

        Comment of The Week Candidate

        "Relativity does not apply to things whose speed is measured in knots, they were excused."


        (shame you ruined it later: you mean 12 / root2)

  5. Ben Rosenthal

    The Milliard Gargantubrain?

    /unconcealed contempt

    A mere abacus - mention it not

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster Impact ?

      But can the impact of these beams be compared to that of a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster = "like having your brains bashed out by a slice of lemon - wrapped around a brick" ?

      1. Charlie Oscar


        Thats a large gold brick I think you will find.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yes but

    Is it powerful enough to run Windows Vista?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      vista's no problem...

      ...but it only gets 10 fps in Crysis =/

  7. Secretgeek

    What's more intriguing.

    Is the 4.00 entry "Ramp started with bucket."!

    Is that all this dimension distorting scientific wizardry is then? A giant game of Mousetrap?

    1. Arkasha
      Paris Hilton


      What tunes are they listening to? I do hope it was "Stuck in an infinite loop" by Prof. J.D. Dougherty (

  8. Gordon is not a Moron

    And after the core dumping..

    a boffin was seen leaving the cavern, waving his hand around and was quoted as saying "I'd leave it a good half hour before you go in there."

    Mine's the one with toilet roll hanging out of the pocket.

  9. Neil 13

    In the event of an accident..

    ...I'd say the safest thing to do would be to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

    Mine's the one with the floppy hat and extra long scarf.

    1. I didn't do IT.

      Reverse... polarity... neutr - Pffft!

      Thank you.

      Thank you very much.

      Although I am sure some politician somewhere could give grant money to determine how to reverse the polarity of a particle without polarity.

  10. Valerion

    Dump core

    Meh, nothing but a hi-tech gravel trap!

  11. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Up

    @Yes but

    The best comment... heh heh!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I for one am preparing

    to welcome our new pan-dimensional reptilian overlords.


  13. Anonymous Coward


    If / when John Titor's predicted micro singularities will manifest and I can trade in my sky plus boxes for a GE time machine?!

  14. Tom Kelsall
    Thumb Down

    I wonder... long it will be before some General reads that description of the effects of a beam escape, and starts thinking for the first time in his life. Can you spell "WEAPON"?

    1. Arkasha

      I'd be surprised

      If they haven't already thought of it. That much money, power and size would only make it feasible for planetary defence at the moment of course. Kinda like the "honking big spaceguns" from SG-1

  15. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Does this mean someone's going to have to paint a new red line?

    I seriously hope the top boffin actually got to utter the words 'MORE POWER!'

    1. Jonathan 10
      Thumb Up

      Title Required

      And when it they finally go whole hog, someone says lets take it all the way to 11.

    2. Steve the Cynic


      I hope he got to say "Bring in the Logic Probe!" first...

    3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Lets hope

      the guy on the loud handle is called "Igor"

      Bet theres a thunderstorm near by when its finally ramped up to maximum power

      One stray bolt of lightning and Ka-bloomy!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @ Max Sang

    The aircraft carriers aren't relativistic...

    1. Bilgepipe


      Yes, but they are relatively big.

    2. Dave Bell

      How do you know?

      I mean, those Kilrathi get everywhere.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Carrier has arrived

      what about protoss ones?

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Collateralised Credit Facility ....... the CDO meets ITs Nemesis.

    "I long it will be before some General reads that description of the effects of a beam escape, and starts thinking for the first time in his life." ..... Tom Kelsall Posted Friday 19th March 2010 14:34 GMT

    Wow ..... that would be Tantamount to IT Performing Remote Miracles too, Tom Kelsall, and who would be Fool enough to Rule it Out, given what is Now Known about IT in ITs Remote Leading Circles and Circuses.

    I would Fear for their Sanity though whenever they Realise the Damage they have been Doing to Themselves and Innocents, in the Name of Peace and Stability/Democracy and Capitalism .....which is surely their Madness confirmed.

  18. Marvin the Martian

    750 tonnes of concrete

    I'm not convinced a chunk of 750 tonnes of concrete would stop a 12knot aircraft carrier?

    1. Liam Johnson

      750 tonnes of concrete

      I think you missed the bit where it is bolted into a cave in a large mountain.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      750 tonnes of concrete AND...

      a giant graphite sponge.. it works like a gravel trap where 4 tonnes of gravel can stop a 40 tonne truck (by creating 4 tonnes of grapeshot? and a 'ton' of noise). anyway The graphite converts the kinetic energy into something else, im not sure what but I do know that it is pretty radioactive and nasty.

  19. MnM
    Thumb Up

    @Tom Kelsall

    mmmmkay. Bring back Naomi Klein. Can you spell Vapid Hippy?

    Hopefully the technology will percolate - I would love to see 7TeV beams incompetently deployed on Road Wars.

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Calm down Lewis

    "unimaginably violent particle collisions at 14 TeV"

    That's about 1 hundred thousandth of a Joule. Quite a lot for a single particle, but hardly unimaginable. A fart is several orders of magnitude more violent.

    1. Tom Kelsall
      Thumb Up

      @Ken Hagan

      Yeah. But we're not talking about a single particle, are we? We're talking about several billion of them in a stream travelling at nearly the speed of light. I don't, therefore, think you're being entirely fair.

      RE: aircraft carriers - at 8-12 knots an aircraft carrier takes several football-pitch lengths to stop using its own engines. If one hit something solid at that speed the damage would be very, very serious.

  21. Arkasha

    Aircraft carrier analogy

    Analogies are good when you have the relevant experience to picture the them in your mind. I'm struggling with how destructive an aircraft carrier at 8 or 12 knots might be though. Seen an Australian Navy Frigate plough in to Hobart harbour at a couple of knots at the 75th Royal Australian Navy celebrations in the 80's and that did a fair amount of damage.

    Still, with the way Royal Navy commanders have been handling their vessels recently I suppose it's only a matter of time....

    1. asiaseen

      HMAS Melbourne

      was quite good at stopping things, too; HMAS Voyager and USS Frank E Evans. And she was only a "light" aircraft carrier.

    2. Liam Johnson

      Why Struggling?

      You have your own ballpark example right there. You just need to imagine a ship around 4 times as heavy at 4 times the speed (16x energy). A factor of 64 should be easy enough to imagine.

      I have never seen a Frigate ramming a harbour, so I do indeed struggle with the analogy, but I will shortly be visiting YouTube to see what I can find :-)

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Pah. How hard can it be?

    I'm sure most of the Reg readership have dumped core at some point in their careers.

    Figuring out why it dumped is usually *much* more difficult.

    Mine's the one with the old Unix manual in the pocket.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Yeah. I've dumped core in my time.

      Mine's the one with the Indian Takeaway menu in the pocket...

  23. Rocket

    One thing I'm unsure about ...

    These protons whipping round and round gain angular momentum from the surroundings .. Earth

    Not to question where the dump is located cos that may make things worse!!

    Doom Gloom and 48hour days!!

  24. Paul 4

    How the Telegraph put it...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The beams weren't at full intensity (only 'pilot'), a mere 5 x10^9 protons as opposed to around 10^14 for a nominal run.

    So more like the aircraft carriers you bring at bathtime.

  26. WhatDoesThisDo

    Colliding beams with block not the same as colliding beams

    The beam dumps did not cause 3.5 TeV collisions I'm afraid.

    If you have two particles with the same energy (say, 3.5 TeV) and they collide head on, the energy in the centre of mass frame (the frame where reactions happen in this case, but that's a bit crude) is just the energy doubled i.e. 3.5 + 3.5 = 7 TeV

    But if you collide a beam at high energy with stationary particles (the 3.5 TeV per proton beam hitting the graphite beam dump), the energy of possible interactions is much less (\sqrt{2*11.19 GeV * 3.5 TeV} = 280 GeV), where 11.19 GeV is the mass-energy of a carbon atom.

    More details here:

  27. BlueGreen

    @Marvin the Martian

    With you on that, it doesn't seem right. There's too much kinetic energy as it's described, aircraft carrier and that - hang on just remembered - akon/macron? It would be just like Lewis to pull a fast one.

    Perhaps someone here can be arsed do the calculations for me.

    1. Lewis Page 1

      Just like Lewis to pull a fast one

      FFS - click on the link in the article before hitting comment. I didn't come up with the aircraft carrier numbers, it was CERN.

      Or just pop off and shout at the bins again, whatever

      1. BlueGreen

        that was meant as a compliment

        at what I thought was a very neat piece of misdirection. Aircraft carrier at speed sounded impossible - unless they're the mostly helium, of course. Very much along the lines of your fat birds article or the 'all nine mice were dead' which caught me out. My apologies for it coming across wrong, but not an insult, ok?

        So anyway I followed the link and checked their calcs and they add up AFAICT but I still have trouble believing them, so here's one for you. They say that the energy is also equivalent also to 77 Kg of TNT. Does it sound credible that 77Kg of TNT could have enough energy to get a mass of 20 million Kg (their aircraft carrier weight) moving from zero to 6 metres/second, about 13.5 miles/hour? I'm having trouble with that.

        1. Keith Oldham

          Re : that was meant as a compliment

          At ~4 moles/kg the energy from 77kg TNT will be ~350 MJ which fits with the kinetic energy for the carrier and the LHC beam energy at 7TeV

      2. kungfuguy181

        CERN has the corrct info in its glossary ... the navy ship example is not correct

        their math is wrong. the official CERN page says that 1 TeV is equal to the enegry of a flying mosquito!

        Not even close to a navy ship. The writer didnt check his reference...

        the register uses this source here:

        so if 1 TeV is a mosquito and 7 Tev is a navy ship something is very wrong...

        but the navy ship example is not correct in my calculation...

        so a ship of same mass traveling at 12 knots ...or velocity = 6.0166435 m/s (meters/second)

        we find the energy of the navy ship at 12 knots:

        E = (1/2) m * v^2 M is mass of ship, and v is velocity or speed...

        E = .5 * (2x10^7 kg ) * (6.0166 m/s )^2

        = 3.62x10^8 Joules or 362,000,000 Joules

        since 1eV = 1.6x10-19 J

        we convert Joules to eV...

        3.62x10^8 J / (1.6x10-19 eV/J) = 2.2596754 x 10^+27 eV

        then convert eV to TeV for comparison...

        = 2.2596754 x10^15 TeV

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          re: CERN has the corrct info in its glossary ... the navy ship example is not correct

          That's for a single particle; there are a lot of 3.5TeV particles circulating that need to be dumped.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. JeffyPooh
    Thumb Up

    Don't ignore Paul 4 !!!!

    Follow his link to the Telegraph typo:

    "Large Hardon Collider"

  30. Badbob

    HMS Invincible = Bellylaugh

    I have to admit, I had a good chuckle at the idea of the HMS Invincible being called into existence at the LHC, and while being unable to understand what it was doing there, went steaming straight into the magnets, before vanishing again and re-materialising as a faulty power coupler. (ala Hitchhikers Guide)

  31. Andus McCoatover

    0.98 TeV?

    Europe's got something bigger than the USA? (Not counting Britain's Dear Leader's negative poll rating, natch). Uskomatonta!

    Having said that, the Human Race is sooo bizzarre. The LHC exists, working - major achievement, and at the same time the ISS flies over places there they're stoning 14-year old girls to death for being raped and getting pregnant, against their will...

    In a thousand years time, we'll be regarded as the Neanderthals. If we haven't blown themselves to bits in the meantime....Might be better for the universe if we did.

  32. Ian Michael Gumby

    Why do they just dump it in to a lump of graphite?

    I mean, heck, what would happen if they focused the beams a little and were able to point them at the moon? (In a controlled fashion of course.)

    Wouldn't it be cool if they could actually make a large enough 'smiley' face to brighten up everyone's life when there's a full moon?

    Or should they just dump it out in to space so it acts like a very large galactic flare gun?

  33. Nater

    International Space Station

    Everytime I see the International Space Station I remember the SSC. The Superconducting Super Colider. The US was supposed to build this beast, nearly three times as powerful as the LHC and it would have been done by now.

    The difference between the SSC and the ISS? The later was actually for science.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Freudian Slip?

      I think you mean 'latter' Big Brain.

      Or did you mean Latte?

  34. b166er

    Ahh buckle this

    BlueGreen and Marvin the Martian.

    That 750 tonnes of concrete is encased in heavy steel and secured within a rather large boulder, though!

  35. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Giant Pinball Machine?

    I bet that sucker is hard to tilt.

  36. gimbal
    Black Helicopters


    :sob-sob mushy etc:

    That's beautiful

    So how soon before they can mount it on a C-130? (KIDDING, people! Please...)

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Pffftt How about something for the plebs

    Sending particles around a race track at insane amounts of energy nahh.

    Throwing around aircraft carriers, now that's something id pay to watch. Mind you you'd need to have Clarkson as the commentator.

    Anonymous, yes I actually enjoy Jeremy Clarkson's pap.

  38. Adrian Esdaile
    Thumb Up

    There is a theory...

    ...which states that if we destroy the Universe in a LHC-induced micro-black-hole-stranglet-vacuum cataclysm it will instantly be replaced by something even more bizzarely inexplicable.

    There is also a theory which states that THIS HAS ALREADY HAPPENED!

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      do you work as an editor for

      the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

  39. kungfuguy181

    7 TeV not going to budge a navy carrier

    the register uses this source here:

    but it is not correct in my calculation...

    so a ship of same mass traveling at 12 knots ...or velocity = 6.0166435 m/s (meters/second)

    we find the energy of the navy ship at 12 knots:

    E = (1/2) m * v^2 M is mass of ship, and v is velocity or speed...

    E = .5 * (2x10^7 kg ) * (6.0166 m/s )^2

    = 3.62x10^8 Joules or 362,000,000 Joules

    since 1eV = 1.6x10-19 J

    we convert Joules to eV...

    3.62x10^8 J / (1.6x10-19 eV/J) = 2.2596754 x 10^+27 eV

    then convert eV to TeV for comparison...

    = 2.2596754 x10^15 TeV

    = 2,259,675,400,000,000 TeV or read as 2.259 thousand trillion TeV !!!!!

    !!!!! wow !!! a lot more energy than the Large Hadron Collider could ever produce!!!

    7 TeV would hardly be enough energy to even budge a ship !

    1. Keith Oldham

      Re : 7 TeV not going to budge a navy carrier

      Indeed one proton with an energy of 7TeV would not move much

      362 MJ is the BEAM energy ( according to CERN) at 7TeV which fits with the energy of the ship

      But the beam has 2088 bunches of protons, each bunch consisting of 1.15E11 protons - each PROTON has 7TeV

    2. Drat

      More than one particle in the beam...

      7 TeV is the energy per particle. Now multiply that by the number of particles per bunch (1.15x10^11), and the number of bunches per beam (2808) and you get 2.26x10^15

      Those figures for number of particles were just from googling so might be different now, but you get the picture.

    3. Christopher Key.

      Beams of particles

      The wikipedia article refers to beams containing 2808 bunches of 1.15e11 protons each, all of which need to be dumped simultaneously. Including this and counting both beams, the energies match reasonably closely.

  40. Oliver 4

    So.. what your saying... that HMS invincible is powered by 7 mosquitoes?

    Way to spend that defence budget lads!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yes but..

      they are applied in 2808 bunches of 1.15e11 Mosquito lumps.

  41. Ken 16

    Graphite Core?

    Must get one of those the next time I need to take a dangerous dump!

    I've a matchbox in my coat, I'll try lighting one...

  42. Anonymous Coward

    LHC--Do not cross the streams!

    Unless Gozur the Destructor needs some butt kickin'....

  43. Neil Woolford

    Dr Fronkensteen...

    Frau Bluecher!

    What hump?


    See Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" it that means nothing to you.

    Watch it again if it does!

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