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Atom Smasher !FREE!

Early in the 20th century, we discovered the structure of the atom. We found that the atom was made of smaller pieces called subatomic particles -- most notably the proton, neutron, and electron. However, experiments conducted in the second half of the 20th century with "atom smashers," or particle accelerators, revealed that the subatomic structure of the atom was much more complex. Particle accelerators can take a particle, such as an electron, speed it up to near the speed of light, collide it with an atom and thereby discover its internal parts.

atom smasher

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The search for the Higgs boson was one of the main motivations for building the LHC in the first place. Since the atom smasher began regular operation last year, it has yet to find evidence of the Higgs boson, but the machine is still ramping up to its peak energies.

Theoretical physicists have developed M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity, but it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or "brane" floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the "bulk."

It was on this very site that many of the technologies we take for granted today were first developed, and certainly knowing a bit of the backstory makes visiting the abandoned atom smasher all the more interesting.

In 1937, Westinghouse physicists designed a 5-million volt Van de Graaff generator, then the largest of its type in the world, to create nuclear reactions by bombarding target atoms with a beam of high-energy particles.

Atom Smasher wears a blue balaclava and a red armless shirt with a blue atom symbol on his chest and a blue portion on his abs. He also wears dark wristbands and red pants lined with blue on the inside of his thighs.

In 2011, the atom smasher and the site was purchased by DC developer Gary Silversmith. Originally there had been some hope that the site would be turned into a science education center, but that plan proved too expensive. Silversmith also reached out to several museums and historical societies, including the Smithsonian Institution, but at 90 tons, the smasher is too large to move.

On the first screen and a friend (or computer opponent) try to see who can blast the most atomic particles using your army regulation Atom Smasher Blaster. On the sides of the arena are moving doors out which the particles must be shot. Successfully guiding these particles out the doors is a bit of a challenge, not only because they tend to move around, but because if they touch you your atomic structure will begin to degrade. If you take five hits you will melt completely, so try to be careful when blasting those particles. The longer you wait to blast the particles out, the larger and harder to avoid they will become, so try to get rid of them as soon as possible. You and your opponent can also be stunned for a short period of time by shooting each other.

Scientists at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) first created a quark-gluon plasma in February 2010 by accelerating gold (or sometimes lead) atoms and protons to relativistic speeds within the lab's Relativistically Heavy Ion Collider, like so:

"What's important about this is that we can tell you a lot about what we created but we still don't really have a good idea of why," he says. And so to get a better idea, BNL scientists are preparing to test different sized atoms at different temperatures. By studying what happens under different conditions, scientists can better understand the overall structure of matter throughout the universe.

In 2010-2011, the LHC successfully created sub-atomic blobs of QGP by colliding lead ions together. Smashing these two massive ions together generated the tremendous temperatures, more than 250,000 times hotter than the core of the sun, that are required for the primordial state of matter to form.

Curiously, the phenomenon that most closely resembles the properties of the hottest known liquid is one of the coldest known liquids: lithium atoms that have been cooled to temperatures one-billionth of a degree above absolute zero using a device called a laser trap. When released from the trap these ultra-cold atoms also behave as a perfect liquid with near-zero viscosity. 041b061a72


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