View Full Version : Putting your hand in the proton beam of the LHC
11th Jun 2012, 23:58
Would you vaporize, explode, get pinprick laser pierced and feel a bit sore or just get a nice Geneva suntan?
Despite the practical impossibility of actually performing such an act, it seems not entirely clear what would happen.
The proton beam has an energy of 300 MJ, the same as an aircraft carrier doing 11 knots, and this would collide with a high density region of flesh. Also a much wider halo of electrons and muons accompany the narrow proton beam which would irradiate the entire body.
Hand back into the Large Hadron Collider - Sixty Symbols - YouTube
12th Jun 2012, 00:34
"I feel great" says first volunteer
Solid Rust Twotter
12th Jun 2012, 06:21
That flashy thing LHC? Dang! That explain everything. Hulk think it Mr Coffee....:}
12th Jun 2012, 07:25
Sounds a simple thing to simulate to me,just put your hand in front of a aircraft carrier doing 11 knots.
12th Jun 2012, 08:17
The Beam would eventually burn through your hand.
We had an errm event shall we say here when after a major shut down they fired up the beam line and well nowt showed up at the other end.
So they cranked the power up and up and eventually they burned through the vacuum valve that had been left shut! :\
12th Jun 2012, 09:30
Wouldn't you have to file a verrrrrry sharp point on the front of it first though Mr. D?
12th Jun 2012, 09:57
The trick would be finding a bloody Aircraft Carrier in this country now,:uhoh:
12th Jun 2012, 10:05
Ask the Ffrench if we could borrow one from them ??
Despite the practical impossibility of actually performing such an act
Difficult and very dangerous (vacuum !) but not impossible.
It would be easier to "borrow" a hand and arm from a mortuary, set it up and use that. I suspect an 'ole would be burned through it. And there are easier ways of doing this, i.e. my soldering iron !
12th Jun 2012, 13:01
In my experience, the SOP with high-energy particle-aggravating things is to have very specific designated end-points where a "window" of adequate strength for the vacuum and made from material mostly transparent to the output beam keeps the suck and blow processes neatly separated.
At most big-deal accelerators one has experienced, special exit areas will be constructed in convenient turn-off spots such that several output nipples may be located near-together and the ones not in use will have "fuse" links put in place as a safety default. All it takes to select one or another nipple is a programmable adjustment tweak of the energy fed into steering magnets or electric field gating bits, so experiments sometimes will use multiple ones concurrently -- with different technical experimental rules for each.
For a time in days of yore, one had something resembling carte blanche to wander around in a very large-scale facility of such sort, while performing duties on behalf of one of the operating groups that managed how the thing worked. The good part of this is that it was something of an adventure -- but the bad part was that the whole deal was dangerous as all get-out, with very few interlocks, warnings, or other such to aid survival of neophytes in the area. Being a physically vast one-off design -- effectively the only copy in the universe -- and substantially re-configured many times per week in many different ways, the real information about how specific functions and features were configured was more often than not held by someone who could not be timely located when one needed to know. Networks and ubiquitous data access were at the smoke-signal stage back then.
An example of the high-energy casualness of things was a needle-type panel meter, temporarily hanging rather carelessly without any enclosure on lengths of low-volts hookup wire from an overhead cable tray in one of the downstream-control rooms, with the hand-lettered meter scale reading out in "billion electron-volts", one each per tiny needle tick.
Found self working one day in a beam-termination room not far from there, a heavy built bunker-style place that was very nice and cool on a hot day. Alarms rang a lot as beam power and configuration were fiddled in a control room miles distant in preparation for a test. There was a really odd noise, a sort of groan from some structure in the room, and (maybe) a blueish flash of light, followed with a chorus of bells, ozone smells, phones, etc. Evidently the main beam - running just at idle power, less than a percent of the planned experiment level, had been briefly switched onto one of the three nipples emerging in the room (each nip a stainless bulkhead pipe perhaps 20 inches OD, and 12 inches or so inside diameter). That wouldn't have been abnormal, except that the particular nip did not yet have any experiment attached and did not have the safety "fuse" installed either, so the beam energy was briefly just transiting across the room and then absorbed in the walls and metal and surrounding earth mass outside. This was a faux-pas, of course, so even in that less-cautious era, everyone in the area had to stop for a talking to , a swap of rad-badges for immediate analysis, and some procedural dithering.
Out in the hall, not far away, was a "fuse" of the standard sort that once had been in place for a minute or less when the main beam power was steered by mistake to it at normal operating levels. The fuse consisted of a massive solid cylinder of copper, some 20cm in diameter and about two meters long. Half-way down the length of it one could see that much of the metal had been evaporated, from center outward, for a 50-60cm of length...explained as the point where the beam particles had slowed down enough to collide with the copper atoms and thermally interact with them. The first several feet of mass were seemingly unharmed... where the beam was too high in energy to interact much with the solid copper mass. Event made fuse noticeably radioactive in the process, but no real harm done.
12th Jun 2012, 15:38
Where's Mr Spock when you need him?
He was arrested by the Elfin Safety.
12th Jun 2012, 15:42
No wonder copper costs so much.
12th Jun 2012, 16:41
... and there is, of course, the slight chance of developing super-powers if you can survive the beam long enough. :ok:
12th Jun 2012, 17:04
Bah! just hoy a bucket of water on it,that'll fettle the buggah.:rolleyes:
12th Jun 2012, 17:25
Well, I think nothing much would happen (depending if you get the setup with the vacuum working). Particles deposition their energy almost entirely before they stop. Check for Bragg peak for this. It is actually used in particle - therapy for cancer.
And a hand is just much to small a volume to have relevant effect on a high energy proton.
Now, for the electrons etc. acompanying the proton, this is a different question.
Thus, I wouldn't do it.
I think it would come off (your hand) and zoom right around the Collider at the speed of light, turn into an Anti-Hand, and hit you in the back of the head while you're still trying to scratch it with what's left of your arm.
Couldn't they experiment with a chop or something?
12th Jun 2012, 18:16
Probably safe if you had a tinfoil hat on, double thickness just to be sure.
12th Jun 2012, 21:27
Maybe your hand would flip into another dimension, allowing you to shake the hand of your doppelganger performing an identical experiment in a parallel universe. Or turned into a crispy and slightly radioactive stump.
You can bet that when the principle work of LHC has been done the scientists will dream up all manner of outlandish experiments to justify its continued funding.
12th Jun 2012, 22:04
Wonder what would happen if LHC came into contact with a Vacumn.................Camerloons or Cleggys head comes to mind to see impact.
Not as if they do something useful !!!!!
12th Jun 2012, 23:06
I want one, even better I think I'll change my handle..
would a hole be burned through or punched through, and would the energy of it make it a small hole or would your entire hand go splat because of the transfer of energy? Why don't they just stick a pigs leg in there and take a look.
13th Jun 2012, 08:50
Why don't they just stick a pigs leg in there and take a look. .. and how crispy would the crackling be??
13th Jun 2012, 08:52
Why don't they just stick a pigs leg in there and take a look.
.. and how crispy would the crackling be??
Wonder if Heston Blumenthal is reading this. :p
13th Jun 2012, 09:06
Bah! just hoy a bucket of water on it,that'll fettle the buggah.:rolleyes:
It's a bit more complicated than that Mr D!
Technology - High Power Targets Group (http://www.stfc.ac.uk/Technology/Our+capabilities/High+Power+Targets/16627.aspx)
What would happen if you put the hand on a conveyer belt?:E
An aircraft would run over it........ :ok:
13th Jun 2012, 12:13
"You can bet that when the principle work of LHC has been done the scientists will dream up all manner of outlandish experiments to justify its continued funding"
All those videos on U tube of peeps shooting the cr@<hidden> out of stuff are going to look a bit tame once the LHC gets turned on various household objects.
Reverting to the original question: was it really intended to ask about one specific part of the body ? How often after doing something stupid does one hear "well, he really put his foot in it" ? Would different parts of the body react differently, and has anyone ideas about this ? If so, please post them, I'm all ears (or perhaps not, as the case might be.)
13th Jun 2012, 17:26
17th Jun 2012, 12:56
Caption contest anyone?
17th Jun 2012, 13:17
Interesting photo, Re-entry. Do ya perchance have a blow-up version of same.....suitable for framing.....a reply, of course?
17th Jun 2012, 14:11
Don't forget the x rays: bremstrahlung (as we never got tired of saying in the pub). Still, if you've managed the vacuum you might manage this. For fun read this
Daghlian: The Omega Site Accident at Los Alamos (http://arnold_dion.tripod.com/Daghlian/accident.html)
18th Jun 2012, 11:48
arcniz, did you mean a blow-up version of the photograph, or of the young lady featured therein? :p
18th Jun 2012, 12:55
I'm sure you'd be quite 'armless.
I say Re-entry, I find that photograph of the little Chinese (?) waif who has strayed into the beam tunnel very moving. What on earth is going on ? I know the LHC has been tunneled deep, but has one end emerged in the People's Republic ? And I fear for her left hand....
21st Jun 2012, 15:11
Sorry, peeps. it's already been tried
Anatoli Bugorski - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoli_Bugorski)