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Scientists create sound of 'God' particle at LHC

world Updated: Jun 23, 2010 20:52 IST
Large Hadron Collider

Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by the subatomic 'God' particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest energy particle accelerator designed to shed light on fundamental questions in physics.

The LHC Sound project aimed to allow physicists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva to "listen to the data" and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.

The scientists believe that finding the Higgs boson --also known as the God particle -- will provide an insight into the nature of all matter.

Dr Lily Asquith, who worked with sound engineers to convert data expected from collisions at the LHC into sounds, said: "If the energy is close to you, you will hear a low pitch and if it's further away you hear a higher pitch."

"If it's lots of energy it will be louder and if it's just a bit of energy it will be quieter," the particle physicist told BBC News.

The 6-billion pound LHC machine is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel on the Swiss-French border, where thousands of magnets steer beams of proton particles around the vast "ring".

At allotted points around the tunnel, the beams cross paths, smashing together near four massive "experiments" that monitor these collisions for interesting events.

Scientists are hoping that new sub-atomic particles will emerge, revealing insights into the nature of the cosmos.

Atlas is one of the experiments at the LHC. An instrument inside Atlas called the calorimeter is used for measuring energy and is made up of seven concentric layers.

Each layer is represented by a note and their pitch is different depending on the amount of energy that is deposited in that layer. The process of converting scientific data into sounds is called sonification.

Dr Asquith and her team have so far generated a number of simulations based on predictions of what might happen during collisions inside the LHC.

The team is only now feeding in real results from real experiments.