Large Hadron Collider: The Big Bang Factory
Date: Friday 18 March 2011
Venue: Lecture Hall
The Large Hadron Collider is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 metres underground. It is a particles accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms ... to the vastness of the Universe.
Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator at the speed of light, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.
Our understanding of the Universe is about to change …
Angelo Merlino was born in Messina, Sicily, in 1937 and grew up in Turin. It was while working in a mechanical workshop that he was introduced to the world of mechanics. He later found a job designing explosion proof equipment for chemical and petroleum plants, eventually also organising the explosion tests at the Politecnico di Torino.
He arrived in CERN In 1964 when they had only just started the first Proto Synchrotron (PS) machine. His first job was to work with the Linear Accelerator (LINAC) group for a new project called 'Duoplasmatron', which produces ions (protons) from hydrogen before being accelerated. His main duties have been designing beam monitors, beam transfer equipment, electrical and hydraulic handling machines for installation of magnets, structure for experimental areas, etc. He also worked for the Super Proto Synchrotron (SPS), especially for the protons-antiprotons experiment, and later for the Large Electro Positon collider (LEP), in the original underground tunnel (27.6 km circumference) that later became the Large Hadrons Collider (LHC).
Angelo ended his career as project leader for two constructions called 'Rotating Shielding'. A 420-ton structure made of thick steel and concrete, designed to provide radiation protection at both ends of the experiment called CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) of the LHC. This work was carried out in collaboration with the Russian Institute of Theoretical Physics in Protvino (Moscow).
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