• Question: what do you mean by extremely hight energys

    Asked by grew354bat to Harrison on 17 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Harrison Prosper

      Harrison Prosper answered on 17 Jun 2019: last edited 17 Jun 2019 6:19 pm


      The total collision energy of the protons at the Large Hadron Collider (before it shutdown some months ago) was 13TeV, that is, 13 trillion electron-volts. That’s a big number, so let me try a couple of ways to convey what that means. Your family’s car contains a 12-volt battery. That means when an electron whizzes from one battery terminal to the other the electron’s energy changes by 12 electron-volts. To change the energy of an electron by 13TeV you’d have to connect one trillion car batteries in series, that is, combine a 100 trillion dollars worth of car batteries! Another way to think about it is to note that at a temperature of 27 Celsius, the atoms in the air have an average energy of about 1/40 of an electron volt. So, in order for the atoms to have an energy of 13TeV on average, the temperature of the air would have to be raised to about 500 trillion Celsius, which is about 35 million times hotter than the center of the Sun. Of course, the poor atoms would no longer be atoms but just a bunch of protons and electrons!

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