Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not entirely convinced that it should exist.
1) I've read some good sci-fi that deals with potential safety issues. Are they *entirely* bullshit?
No, but work was done. In essence, the LHC generates collisions of energy levels that already happen
all of the damn time in this universe. We just cannot watch
The LHC just makes the collisions happen in a middle of a huge sensor array that we can use to detect every fiddling little detail of.
In short, if the LHC was going to destroy the universe, then it would have happened long ago at a neutron star.
If the LHC was going to produce micro-black holes that eat the planet Earth before the sun eats it, then it would have happened at a neutron star sufficiently often that we'd be bombarded with semi-stable black holes that would have eaten us long ago.
Etc, etc. We aren't doing anything new under the sun -- we are just doing it where we can look at it, really really closely, as often as we want.
2) While pure science is a great thing, I wonder how this will affect people in 10 years. 20. 30. 50.
We don't know.
To give you an idea, however, the last few revolutions in science have led to semiconductors (computers are useful, and they run on quantum mechanics), nuclear bombs, and a few other minor applications of similar scale.
3) Is our technology at a point where we can adequately produce answers to the questions posed? Materials science, electronics, etc.
Hurm? Yes, that is why we are building it. There are multiple interesting possible results that could happen.
4) I know this is bigger then Fermilab, but I'm not sure why it needs to be. What's the advantage to making larger colliders aside from being able to smash bigger particles? could you upgrade a currently existing collider to smash bigger particles?
Yes, by turning it into the LHC?
The trick is to take a heavy particle, and give it LOTS of energy, and have it smash into another high-energy particle. This requires a huge "race-track" to bring the particle up to speed.
The corners of the "race track" are a problem, because turning a fast moving particle takes lots of energy, especially if you want to do it without slowing the particle down.
At a certain point, you cannot hold onto the particle beam -- your fields just aren't strong enough.
But if you make the "race track" curve slower, the amount of work you have to do to curve the beam drops off a lot. Which means you can speed the particle(s) up more
before they "fall off the track".
This requires a lower radius of curvature -- which requires a larger donut -- which is what the LHC is.
The power upgrade of the LHC over previous models is quite impressive. While you can eek out a small amount of performance improvement by improving other details of a collider, the level of upgrade the LHC will pull off is well well out of the scope of a minor upgrade to any other collider.