London: A free new app on Google Android phones and tablets helps users view colliding protons in real time and 3D within the particle accelerator used by scientists carrying out work under the mountains on the French-Swiss border.The app, created by an Oxford team led by physicist Alan Barr and endorsed by CERN, Geneva, which operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
Naturally, it can`t capture everything - the LHC produces gigabytes of data every second - but the view offers an exhilarating insight into `Big Science`.
It is pitched, according to Android market, at `experts and non-experts alike`, and offers the chance to explore different parts of the detector and learn about the reactions it`s looking for, the Daily Mail reports.
Be warned, though - despite a game entitled `Hunt the Higgs`, it isn`t exactly Angry Birds. You have to comb slides of reactions, guessing which subatomic particles are reacting.
"For ages, I`d been thinking that with the amazing capabilities on modern smartphones we really ought to be able to make a really great app - something that would allow everybody to access the LHC data," said Barr, on the official Oxford science blog.
"I`d sounded out a few commercial companies who said they could do the job but I found that it would be expensive, and of course I`d have to teach their designers a lot of physics. So the idea was shelved."
`Then, a few months later, I had one of those eureka moments that make Oxford so wonderful.
First Published: Monday, October 10, 2011, 16:13