Cern Click


Cern

Click goes deep underground in the tunnels of Cern to see how this colossal physics experiment could answer fundamental questions about our universe.


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Transcript


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This week, smashing particles. A spinning house. And a trip to the

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birth of the universe. Now we're talking!

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How did it all began? What happened at the big bang? What is the

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universe is made of? These are the questions that I have come here to

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find out. Please scan your eye. Thank you. Your identity has been

:01:07.:01:14.

verified. Just outside Geneva, straddling France and Switzerland,

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is the European Organisation for nuclear research, Cern. A massive

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coming together of scientists who are looking for the fundamental

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building blocks of the universe. I think we have it. You agree? Their

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most high-profile discovery in 2013 was evidence of the Higgs boson. The

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particle that gives everything mass, and confirmation that

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science's standard model of the universe is correct. And this is how

:01:44.:01:51.

they did it. Under the ground, a series of four particle accelerators

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gradually bring beams of particles up too close to the speed of light.

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Then they are smashed together, and the particles are smashed apart. The

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largest of these accelerators is the one that has made all the headlines

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recently. It creates temperatures of trillions of degrees, and conditions

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similar to those at the birth of the universe. Now, it's time to head

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underground. I have a very small head. And meet the beast itself. 100

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or so metres below the surface, a 27 kilometre long loop running under

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the French Swiss border. Let's see what we've got. This is the largest

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machine in the world. The Large Hadron Collider. This is it, the LHC

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tunnel. My guide is the head of the beams instrumentation group, Roger

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Jones, who I leave in no doubt at all about how happy he has made this

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little peak. -- geek. I need a moment. Wow.

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I don't know what I was expecting, but to be honest this looks almost

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to science fiction to be real. This enormous collection of components,

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donated by so many countries, is a real reminder that this is a truly

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international collaboration. Science, here at least, knows no

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borders. What you see here are what we call

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the focusing magnets. So it is a bit like your lens in a camera. So when

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you say focusing the particles down you mean aligning them into a really

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narrow beam. You can imagine it to be like you with the sunlight and a

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magnifying glass burning a bit of paper. It is exactly the same

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thing. They focus, all the particles come down here to a very tight spot

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just beyond the wall and that is where the collisions occur. And from

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these collisions we then look up to see where we can find these new

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particles that we are talking about. And getting these two extremely fine

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beams to collide is no mean feat. And it is Roger and his team who

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make that happen. You are in effect the sniper, to get these beams

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exactly in line. What we build measures the position, we then

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feedback to make the current and we slightly adjust the position. So

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without you these beams properly would miss each other. As we turn

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and head back to the left, it is worth remembering that although the

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beams are tiny, the energies involved down here are incredibly

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high. So high that humans are usually banned from this tunnel.

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Really lucky to be allowed down here. The only reason we are is

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because the LHC is switched off for maintenance. If this was running it

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would be far too dangerous Ross to be down here. In fact, we have all

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been given these little tokens. And if any of are detected either

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sensors down here, you can't switch the LHC on. OK. Time to leave

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Switzerland just for a few minutes. Now, not all of us need as much

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power as Cern, but in the future we are all going to need more power.

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The Sun is one solution but it is still quite expensive to first

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collect solar energy and then store it. Ben Simons visits physicists

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research Inc in Germany who want a max out what the sun can do for us.

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-- want to max out. It is free energy, at the technology needed to

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capture it is still expensive. So when it comes to heating or lighting

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your homes, some believe the answer revolves around the planet's

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movement. It is more efficient to move this

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house to track the sun across the sky than it would be to heat and

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light it. This is such a weird sensation. Because it's quite

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steady, it just looks like everything outside is slowly going

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past. It is the strangest feeling. It's almost like we are not moving,

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but they are. Researchers are carefully measuring the environment

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inside and outside the house, to see what prompts these two desk workers

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to open windows, turn on fans or heaters, or adjust the blinds, all

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of which they can do remotely from their computers. If our homes are to

:07:05.:07:10.

track the sun but we end up turning on the air con, for example, we are

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unlikely to see energy savings. Sofia and Lewis have been willing

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guinea pigs for this experiment for seven months now, with the initial

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results due later this year. For the initial experiments, we are

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manipulating how the sun is affecting people. In winter you

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could try to face the sun as much as possible. The game the sort of

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radiation and the heat through there. But in some time we maybe

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don't want to have it as warm, and we don't want to have sunshine, so

:07:45.:07:48.

we you will turn your back and keep it cool inside. Now, for most of us

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spinning our existing home isn't really an option. So back to those

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solar panels at Europe's largest research solar park where they are

:07:57.:08:00.

finding out how to make it cheaper and better suited to our homes. If

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you get energy from the grid, you pay around 29 euros, producing your

:08:06.:08:14.

own energy might end up around nine or ten euro cents so the difference

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between these 29 and nine is available for storage. Available for

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storage means that 20 cents per kilowatt power saving is at the

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moment almost completely spent on buying the hardware in the first

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place. And as most batteries only achieve 4000 to 5000 cycles, they

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are looking to match better battery tech with clever control systems, to

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deliver the cost saving solar power has been promising for decades. One

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idea is to reduce the need to store solar energy. Most solar farms, all

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the panels would face the same way, usually south in the northern

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hemisphere, to get the most amount of electricity. Here they are

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testing outpointing the panels in different directions in order to get

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a more even delivery of electricity across the course of the day. So

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rather than make as much energy as possible, the idea now is that we

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harvest it at the same time we use it, and reduce the need for those

:09:18.:09:24.

expensive batteries. The panels themselves are starting to deliver

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about 20% efficiency. So it is now starting to be possible to design

:09:30.:09:33.

power systems even in northern Europe that pay for themselves in

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ten years. Looking to the future, architects are imagining how

:09:41.:09:43.

skyscrapers could spin, while harvesting solar, and in this case

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wind power. But this dynamic power, or anything similar that could power

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itself, has yet to be built. And perhaps that is because of a small

:09:58.:10:00.

problem I have found with buildings that move. Where is the car? Hello,

:10:01.:10:14.

and welcome to the week in Tech. It was the week that Apple and the FBI

:10:15.:10:20.

went head-to-head over unregulated phones. Apple boss Tim Cook

:10:21.:10:24.

announced that the company will fight a court order which will help

:10:25.:10:28.

the FBI access data on the phone, belonging to San Bernardino gunmen

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Syed Farook. They say the US government is asking it to hack its

:10:36.:10:39.

own users while the FBI says the phone contains crucial information.

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It was also the week that Russia showed off some space age robots.

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The world's cheapest smartphone was revealed in India for a mere ?2.50.

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And as you know, the one thing we have all been crying out for is self

:10:58.:11:02.

parking chairs. And if you wondered what Darpa, the Pentagon's defence

:11:03.:11:08.

research division, was up to recently, well this week they showed

:11:09.:11:11.

off their incredible if asked, fully autonomous quad copter drone. It is

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able to reach speeds of 45 mph. And finally if you want a peek at the

:11:18.:11:22.

future, well, here it is. Researchers at Queens University,

:11:23.:11:26.

Canada, have shown off a truly bendable, flexible smartphone. The

:11:27.:11:29.

nimble mobile is able to measure how much pressure is being put on the

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Flex is green, allowing you to control the cursor or plate angry

:11:34.:11:41.

birds like never before. -- play Angry Birds. Having been down to the

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tunnel containing the Large Hadron Collider itself, it's time to come

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up top and meet the people who actually operate it. The physicists

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conducting the experiments rely on engineers like Julia in the Cern

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control room, to make sure the proton beams are connected correctly

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and behave himself during the process. Can you describe the kind

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of satisfaction that your job gives you? You are not dreaming up the

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experiments or sifting through the results, you are operating this

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machine. Our job is to give the experiments could conditions, good

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collisions. High tech pleasure, call it, when there is a problem

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understanding what the causes. , just point out, Julia works only

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over ball. There are some people who say this could be a big waste of

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money. What is the point of looking at the origins of the universe? When

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there are more important things in the world to spend the money on.

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What would you say? It is a lot of money but there are other things on

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which more money is spent. It is worth it so much more, this one

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thing is can parable. What we're doing here is the advancement of the

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knowledge that mankind has on nature, why we are building this and

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learning more technology that can be used elsewhere. Really useful and

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easy to understand is accelerators for cancer therapy. There is a whole

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world that and it is the technology that is produced in accelerators

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that is used to kill people. -- your people. All these lights are

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concerning regions of the machine that we can access. Each quarter of

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the control room runs a different part of the accelerator process. And

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since the LHC was offline for maintenance and things were suitably

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quiet, I was able to grab some time with Paul, director of teams. Which

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is officially the coolest job title in the world. Each This island is

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the one that looks after all the basic infrastructure of Cern. For

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example, the electrical distribution system, the cooling systems, the

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cryogenic systems. You must need a hell of a lot of electricity! We do

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need quite a bit, yes. When the whole complex is running flat-out,

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we're drawing roughly 200 megawatts. Does anyone else notice when you go

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live? Do the surrounding towns' lights flicker? No, because we

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continue sucking and pushing energy backwards and forwards between us

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and the outside world. If we didn't have, um, what we call compsators,

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then everybody's lights would follow the 1.2-second pulse of Cern in the

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Geneva area and we would not be very popular. So instead, we have a

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mechanism which damps this out, which means that the outside world

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does not see this heartbeat of Cern. Can I ask about the bottles of

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champagne? Yeah. There are quite a lot up there. I'm guessing they are

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to do with discoveries? Discoveries or major milestones for us in the

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development of the machine. Somebody normally turns up with a bottle of

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champagne to celebrate it. It's the great Cern champagne tour, for a

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smashing good time! Congratulations on our very first fant obarn. Now

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never forget your first phantobarn. That's a good year, that, 10-to-the

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33. Always steer a way from clear bottles in your dad f shed. It says

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mineral water. That is so not mineral water. No naked flames,

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ladies and gentlemen. No naked flames. The hick single malt. Do the

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physicists here drink well, or do they have one glass of wine and

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they're anyone's? Oh, we can manage to, ah, to put it away when it's

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appropriate. We don't drink and drive the machine, as it were.

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LAUGHS High-five. You've done that one

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before! Well, it may not be scientifically

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accurate, but they do say that money makes the world go 'round, and these

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days, technology helps give it a little extra spin. And so today,

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I've joined the suited financiers at the Finovate conference in the city

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of London, where the latest apps to heped us spend our money are being

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shown off. If it's simple control of your cards you're after, VyPera is

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an app that aims to help. It gives options like being able to tell it

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when you're travelling so, your reg strd cards will expect you to be

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abroad, rather than causing security alerts each time you're you use

:16:51.:16:55.

them. You can also select options like not allowing any online

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payments so that you can choose exactly what you want your card to

:16:58.:17:01.

be used for, and when. You can register your cards and then look

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through your transactions, seeing them turned into some nice, if not a

:17:06.:17:11.

little scary, graphs. Then, from learning your habits, it'll also

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provide personalised location-based offers - something this event showed

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there was a growing trend towards. Deutsche Bank have been the first to

:17:20.:17:23.

sign up to using the app, but its success will be dependent on other

:17:24.:17:28.

banks following. PaySend is an app due to be released later this year.

:17:29.:17:32.

It provides a way of being able to make a credit or debit card payment

:17:33.:17:37.

directly to someone else's card. Meaning that, if you're paying a

:17:38.:17:42.

friend or, indeed, anyone, you don't need to do a full-on online

:17:43.:17:47.

transfer. Its makers hope that it will prove a good solution for easy

:17:48.:17:51.

and secure global money transfers - but of course, there is plenty of

:17:52.:17:57.

competition. They plan to charge a basic 1% plus ?1 fee for a

:17:58.:18:03.

same-currency payment, with added costs for cross-currency

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transactions. But they will need a licence from the financial

:18:07.:18:10.

authorities first. But the question that this type of tech always comes

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back to is how secure is all your data going to be? People need to be

:18:16.:18:21.

careful. You need to know the company you're dealing with.

:18:22.:18:23.

Generally if they're regulated, they're going to be fairly safe to

:18:24.:18:30.

deal with. You can also look at whether they're working with banks

:18:31.:18:35.

or Karnetworks. Over time, people are doing things they said they

:18:36.:18:40.

would never do. Gradually, as we use technology, it becomes normal. So

:18:41.:18:45.

people are using more new technologies. If something makes

:18:46.:18:52.

things faster, easier or cheaper, it's likely to be popular. It's not

:18:53.:18:59.

just about making our lives easier, but about securing our devices.

:19:00.:19:04.

Forget fingerprint identification - this is all about eyeprint. Eye

:19:05.:19:11.

verifies iPrint ID is already being used by some US banks. The level of

:19:12.:19:17.

encryption is equivalent to a 50-letter password, and you don't

:19:18.:19:19.

need to remember anything other than to open your eyes. We do find that

:19:20.:19:26.

we get much better match scores when we use both eye veins and

:19:27.:19:30.

microfeatures. We've tested them separately, and they both work. But

:19:31.:19:38.

when you combine eye veins and microfeatures, we get a much better

:19:39.:19:43.

score. Its creators could be laughing all the way to the bank if

:19:44.:19:45.

it extends beyond finance. The work here at Cern is some of the

:19:46.:20:00.

most extreme research being done anywhere in the known universe. So

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far, we've seen the control room, and we've seen the Large Hadron

:20:05.:20:10.

Collider itself. Now, it's time to see the place where it all happens.

:20:11.:20:18.

One of four locations where those two high-energy protonbeams actually

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collide. And it is absolutely jaw-dropping.

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LAUGHS Oh! Right, now we're talking! This,

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for me, is hallowed turf. This is called the CMS. It's the

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Compact Nuon Solar Noise. Nothing compact about it, if you ask me!

:20:54.:20:57.

This is, um, a bit spiritual, really.

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15m across, this leviathan is a collection of detectors that all

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focus their attention on what's happening in the very centre. And

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only because it's down for maintenance - only because it's open

:21:19.:21:25.

- can we take you to its very heart. Right. We're now all gonna see

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something that not many people will ever get to see in their life. The

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inside of the CMS. So this is where the beam of pro tonnes comes - it

:21:42.:21:44.

shoots through here. It collides with another beam of protons that

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comes the other way. In the dead centre of this thing is where the

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collision happens. The debris has is flung out, and this massive detector

:21:53.:21:58.

sifts through that wreckage looking for evidence of new particles. The

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beginnings of the universe. SIGHS

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All right, compose yourself! It turns out that it's not just

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overwhelming for first-time visitors like me. Stephanie, one of many

:22:14.:22:17.

scientists who churn through the data generated by the LHC, likes to

:22:18.:22:23.

come down here as often as possible. As a physicist, your everyday work

:22:24.:22:27.

is basically being in front of a laptop. Sometimes, like everyone in

:22:28.:22:32.

the industry, you're frustrated by forgetting why you're doing this

:22:33.:22:37.

work. So coming here and having a view to the detect detector with

:22:38.:22:40.

also visitors and showing them how great it is just reminds me really

:22:41.:22:44.

why I'm doing such, because this is amazing to see what we can build all

:22:45.:22:50.

together to make some research and discovery as we are expecting. So,

:22:51.:22:55.

job's done now. You've detected the Higgs boson. Switch it off, take it

:22:56.:23:00.

apart, and move on? No, no! We still have plenty of things to detect!

:23:01.:23:03.

What do you want to detect next? We still have a lot of unknown, like

:23:04.:23:09.

why do we have more matters and antimatter, for example? We still

:23:10.:23:13.

don't understand what we call dark matter or dark energy in the

:23:14.:23:16.

universe. It could be coming from new particles that we are trying to

:23:17.:23:19.

detect in this detector. So we have plenty of things to do. Yep, the LHC

:23:20.:23:25.

certainly has its work cut out for it, for at least the next 20 years.

:23:26.:23:32.

The collisions may be tiny, but the impact they'll have on our

:23:33.:23:38.

understanding of the universe - and ultimately mankind's path through it

:23:39.:23:45.

- will be massive. And I'm really sorry, but that is it from Click at

:23:46.:23:52.

Cern. I don't know about you but, um... ..Yeah. I'm emotional. I'm

:23:53.:24:04.

gonna stick a tonne of photos on Twitter, so @BBCclick is where you

:24:05.:24:06.

can find them, and you can check out our website for more throughout the

:24:07.:24:08.

week. We'll see you soon. A weekend of big weather contrasts

:24:09.:24:31.

across the UK and here is why. This one is making all

:24:32.:24:37.

the way back across the Atlantic.

:24:38.:24:41.

A comprehensive guide to all the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news.

Click goes deep underground in the tunnels of Cern to see how this colossal physics experiment could answer fundamental questions about our universe.


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