Large Hadron Collider: There’s an App for That


The Large Hadron Collider probably wouldn’t fit in your pocket, but this handy educational app will.

The Large Hadron Collider is an impressive piece of machinery. Since its completion in 2009, the Swiss particle accelerator has found some very cool stuff about matter in the universe. It’s also raised some overblown concerns about wiping out humanity, but in science, you take the good with the bad. Now, the scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) want to share the LHC’s accomplishments with the world. LHSee, a new Android app allows users to watch and interact with real proton collisions, hunt for theoretical particles, and learn how the LHC works, one incredibly-complicated piece at a time.

Christopher Boddy, from the Oxford Department of Physics, worked with a team of scientists to create the app, which is available free of charge in the Android Market. The app is fairly bare-bones in terms of presentation, but the amount of content is through the roof. LHSee provides videos from CERN, an animated step-by-step walkthrough of how the LHC works, and 3D simulations of real collisions. There’s even a game called Hunt the Higgs Boson (the yet-to-be-observed particle that ties together theoretical physics), although it consists entirely of identifying subatomic phenomena observed by the LHC. If you want to play, you’d better know your muons from your neutrinos.

The public understanding of science is crucial to expanding our understanding of the universe. It’s good to see CERN sharing its information so readily – even if few people who use the app will really understand everything that it presents. LHSee has full support for English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, so Americans and Europeans should give it a try. Gamers have already folded proteins where traditional methods failed – could finding the Higgs boson particle be next?

Source: Science & Technology Facilities Council

(Thanks to The_root_of_all_evil.)

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