The Why Files The Why Files --

Why-Mart:Making Scientists Smile. Always
man looks up at huge red cylinder constructionSuper-speed digital camera
takes 40 million pix a second

Item name: Regional Calorimeter Trigger

Item description: Item is a signal processing system to analyze collisions at world's largest particle accelerator.

Photo from Large Hadron Collider

40 million images!!!!Product features

Item takes 40 million images a second from 2-nanosecond collisions. Item receives 4 trillion bits of information per second, processes signals and delivers 14 billion bits for further analysis.

Item contains super-speed boards and chips to process massive heaps information faster than you can imagine.

Don't think megapixels -- think megapictures!.

As the piping follows the curve of the round underground structure, protons zoom within. Man bikes alongside tube
Plumbing-like object carries fast protons at Large Hadron Collider. Nifty electric bike is not supplied with Large Hadron Collider. Photo: CERN

collision! in 2007!!Product background

In 2007, new Large Hadron Collider will start blasting protons (moving at 99.999999 percent of light-speed) against each other. The collider will recreate conditions just after the big bang, when mass and energy were almost infinitely compressed. As energy converts into mass, collisions will make many familiar (and therefore boring) elementary particles. To focus on new particles, calorimeter will take a 'snapshot' of collisions and help decide whether to save information on them, explains Pamela Klabbers, a high-energy physicist at University of Wisconsin-Madison who works on item.

Other uses
Civilian version under development for tracking traffic collisions.

From Switzerland!Item location

Item is part of a collider near Geneva, Switzerland.

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Sales ranking
(Not available)

Shipment terms
Not suitable for air shipment. Item is part of a 14,000-ton detector. Detector is part of a collider that is 27 kilometers around and buried 50+ meters deep.

Item is back ordered. Large Hadron Collider expected to start colliding in 2007.

Gift wrapping
Expensive. Inquire.

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Megan Anderson, project assistant; Terry Devitt, editor; S.V. Medaris, designer/illustrator; David Tenenbaum, feature writer; Amy Toburen, content development executive

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