LHC First Beam

“If people don’t have an understanding of what science is and what scientists do, then they can tend to think that global warming, for example, is just a matter of opinion.”
Brian Cox

As I’m sure you are all aware—and don’t need reminding—CERN’s LHC is commencing its operations this morning with the first beam injection taking place at 0830 BST (the first collision is way off).

Now stop making jokes about the end of the world: it’s really not funny any more. For a good overview of the so-called ‘risks’ this article written by Dr. Michio Kaku (of Berkley and Harvard, expert in String Theory and Quantum Field Theory) is worth reading in its entirety, as is CERN’s own overview on the safety of the LHC.

Now take your mind off the frankly annoying media frenzy by looking at these old, yet truly beautiful, photos of the LHC from The Big Picture.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider

Have some questions? For your less demanding queries, the BBC has compiled a good guide to the LHC and its experiments while CERN has released it’s LHC introduction booklet (which includes “10 Fascinating Facts About the LHC”). For those more in-depth questions, all of the project documentation is available and CERN’s ‘First Beam’ site has a nice collection of videos.

Other interesting links: Katherine McAlpine’s Large Hadron Collider Rap, Seed Magazine‘s The Lords of the Ring short film, CERN’s own live webcast of today’s proceedings, a list of what the LHC might find (with probabilities), Brian Cox’s TED talk on the LHC, and Brian Cox presenting BBC Four’s The Big Bang Machine (UK only, 4 days left to watch online).