Cern Click


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


birth of the universe. Now we're talking!


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


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


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


verified. Just outside Geneva, straddling France and Switzerland,


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


coming together of scientists who are looking for the fundamental


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


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


particle that gives everything mass, and confirmation that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


international collaboration. Science, here at least, knows no


borders. What you see here are what we call


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


beams are tiny, the energies involved down here are incredibly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


movement. It is more efficient to move this


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


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


steady, it just looks like everything outside is slowly going


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


but they are. Researchers are carefully measuring the environment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


manipulating how the sun is affecting people. In winter you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


moment almost completely spent on buying the hardware in the first


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


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


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


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


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


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


testing outpointing the panels in different directions in order to get


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


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


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


expensive batteries. The panels themselves are starting to deliver


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


power systems even in northern Europe that pay for themselves in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conducting the experiments rely on engineers like Julia in the Cern


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


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


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


experiments or sifting through the results, you are operating this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


since the LHC was offline for maintenance and things were suitably


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


continue sucking and pushing energy backwards and forwards between us


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


LAUGHS High-five. You've done that one


before! Well, it may not be scientifically


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


provide personalised location-based offers - something this event showed


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


transactions. But they will need a licence from the financial


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


people are using more new technologies. If something makes


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


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


Forget fingerprint identification - this is all about eyeprint. Eye


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


collide. And it is absolutely jaw-dropping.


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


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


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


This is, um, a bit spiritual, really.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


beginnings of the universe. SIGHS


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the way back across the Atlantic.


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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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