Science + Technology

Video: Robert Cousins on the Large Hadron Collider, world's largest science experiment


The largest science experiment in history is taking place at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva, where the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, is poised to unlock secrets of the universe.

Robert Cousins, a UCLA professor of physics who has served as a leader of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) — one of the LHC's four main experiments — spoke about the LHC and its physics on March 31 at UCLA in a lecture intended for a general audience. He presented the goals of revolutionizing elementary particle physics and the implications for our understanding of the Big Bang and dark matter.

The LHC will replicate conditions that existed less than one-billionth of a second after the Big Bang, which occurred some 13.7 billion years ago, and will do so repeatedly in a controlled way. It will collide bunches of protons head-on 40 million times per second to enable physicists to study the tiniest particles with great precision. CMS's giant digital cameras are designed to record the most interesting of these billions of collisions. In volumes smaller than the size of a proton, the LHC will reach temperatures a billion times hotter than the temperature at the center of the sun.

In addition to speaking about the LHC and CMS, Cousins spoke of UCLA’s deep involvement in the construction of the CMS and the analysis of its data.

You can view the slides from his talk at

“I guess you couldn’t get tickets to Paul McCartney at the Hollywood Bowl,” Cousins told the more than 500 people who attended his talk (before this video recording began). But it wasn’t long before his audience was thinking, “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

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