Monday, 30 November 2009

Johnald's Fantastical Daily Link Splurge

Johnald's Fantastical Daily Link Splurge

Large Hadron Collider Sets New World Record

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 12:08 AM PST


CERN announced early Monday that the Large Hadron Collider has become the world's highest-energy particle accelerator. The LHC pushed protons to 1.18 TeV (trillion electron volts), surpassing the previous record of 0.98 TeV held by Fermilab's Tevatron.

The LHC has had a rough beginning, suffering a mechanical failure just a week after it started up for the first time in September 2008. Now, 10 days after itturned on again,scientists are celebrating with their fingers crossed that the machine is safely on its way to the physics experiments they plan to start next year when the LHC has reached its target energy of 7 TeV.

"We are still coming to terms with just how smoothly the LHC commissioning is going," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer in a press release Monday. "However, we are continuing to take it step by step, and there is still a lot to do before we start physics in 2010. I'm keeping my champagne on ice until then."

The first beam was injected on November 20, and two beams sped around the 17-mile ringin opposite directionsthree days later. All four of the LHC's detectors recorded data from the collision of those two beams.

The first to announce the record may have been the scientists running the CMS detector through their Twitter feed:

@CMSexperiment: World Record!! Tonight at about 22:00 the LHC accelerated a beam of protons to 1180 GeV - a new record energy!

Next, the intensity of the beams will be increased for about a week, and then collisions to calibrate the machine will be carried out through December.

Image: CERN

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Mini Microbe Portraits From the Micropolitan Museum

Posted: 29 Nov 2009 09:00 PM PST

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Tired of the portraits, landscapes and abstract art that peppers the walls of most art museums? According to Dutch photographer Wim von Egmond, there's one art subject that has been ignored for centuries and finally deserves its due: microscopic organisms.

As the head of the Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimetre, von Egmond has created the Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms, an online gallery of all creatures tiny and tinier. To gather his collection, von Egmond sampled organisms from anywhere he could find water, scooping up critters from urban puddles and country ditches as well as the ocean. From desmids to diatoms, he captured all the stunning features of these normally invisible creatures using a standard light microscope. Here, we've chosen a few of our favorite itty-bitties for your viewing pleasure.

The medusa Obelia
This odd-looking creature is a hydrazoan, a tiny relative of the jellyfish measuring just 1 millimeter wide. Like most jellyfish, the Obelia has two life stages, a free-swimming phase called the medusa stage (above) and a stationary phase called the polyp stage (below). During the medusa stage, the creature feeds from the yellow, star-shaped mouth at the center of its body and reproduces sexually using the four gonads surrounding its mouth. Eggs produced during the medusa phase will develop into larvae and then attach themselves to a surface, eventually turning into the stationary broom-shaped polyps pictured below.


Photos: Wim von Egmond/