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How large a hadron would a large hadron collider collide, if a large hadron collider could collide hadrons?
November 8, 2012 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Does the Large Hadron Collider collide large hadrons, or is it a large machine that collides regular hadrons?

That is, it is a [Large [Hadron Collider]] or a [[Large Hadron] Collider]?
posted by gkhan to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
It refers to the machine itself. I.e. it's a large collider of hadrons.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:38 AM on November 8, 2012


A hadron is a composite particle, like a proton or electron. A collider collides them. The LHC is a big one of these.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:38 AM on November 8, 2012


It's the former, a large collider of hadrons.
posted by Ms. Next at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2012


Hadrons and Large Hadron Collider for openers. I'm sure those far more knowledgeable than I am will chime in with further details.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2012


BTW - this is a great guide to the LHC.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:45 AM on November 8, 2012


The predecessor in the same tunnel was LEP, the Large Electron-Positron collider, so the name kinda makes sense.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 10:48 AM on November 8, 2012


Thanks! I've been wondering this for a few years now, but never got around to asking.

By the way, now I can begin work on my latest invention, a big machine that collides Large Hadron Colliders, which I will be calling the Large Large Hadron Collider Collider.
posted by gkhan at 10:52 AM on November 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


Ms. Next: I think you meant to say that it's the latter...
posted by sbutler at 10:44 AM on November 8 [+]


The question is asked in two different ways in the original post.

The first question is "Does the Large Hadron Collider collide large hadrons, or is it a large machine that collides regular hadrons?" -- The answer is "the latter."

The second question is "That is, it is a [Large [Hadron Collider]] or a [[Large Hadron] Collider]?" -- The answer is "the former."
posted by valeries at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2012


Thanks, valeries. Too little caffeine today!
posted by sbutler at 11:13 AM on November 8, 2012


A hadron is a composite particle, like a proton or electron.

Electrons are fermions, not hadrons. Hadrons interact via the strong force, which electrons do not.
posted by BrashTech at 11:40 AM on November 8, 2012


Ah, I didn't realise the question was posed in two different orders, sorry for the confusion, sbutler!
posted by Ms. Next at 11:58 AM on November 8, 2012


BrashTech, that's not quite right. Fermion refers to spin-statistics (namely, being spin-1/2, 3/2, ...), and hadron refers to feeling the strong interaction. You can be both fermionic and hadronic (protons and neutrons, for example). Electrons are both fermions and leptonic (a spin-1/2 particle not feeling the strong force: electrons, muons, taus, and the neutrinos). You can also be hadronic and NOT fermionic: pions and other mesons, which are hadronic and bosonic (spin 0, 1, etc). For good reasons (namely that the number of leptons is preserved if we use this definition), we don't denote the photons, W/Z, and Higgs as "leptons," even though they don't feel the strong force, so there are no known leptons that are bosonic.
posted by physicsmatt at 6:49 PM on November 8, 2012


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