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Large Hadron What?

It's almost switch on time for the LHC, but how switched on are you? Taking our quiz is the only way to find out... 

 1. The LHC is housed in a circular tunnel 100 m below the Swiss-French border. Why was it built underground?

a. Because it was cheaper that way.
b. So that particles don't need to get out their passports at border checkpoints on the surface.
c. So that the physicists working on it couldn’t escape.

2. When working on the LHC, how did the physicists get to different points around the 27 km tunnel?

a. By Shetland pony.
b. By teleportation.
c. By bicycle.

3. Which of the following is an LHC particle detector?

c.  ATLAS.

4. What revolutionary invention came about at CERN?

a. Sliced bread.
b. The World Wide Web.
c. The toothbrush.

5. Which of these isn’t a real particle?

a. A Sobon.
b. A Sparticle.
c. A Gluon.

6. Quarks are one of the fundamental building blocks of matter, forming protons and neutrons. The different types of quarks are known as ‘flavours’ – what are the six flavours?

a. Left, right, odd, weird, weirder and downright bizarre.
b. Up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom.
c. Vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, lemon, pistachio and mint choc chip.

7. Why does the LHC have to be cooled down to an icy -271C?

a. To operate the superconducting magnets.
b. To save money on the heating bill.
c. To ensure that it’s the coolest experiment ever.

8. The Higgs boson is sometimes nicknamed the God particle because physicists believe it can explain:

a. Why toast always falls jam side down.
b. Why it always rains on Bank holidays.
c. How particles acquire mass.

9. Physicists hope the LHC will help them to find out more about dark matter. What do we know about it so far?

a. It hides under small children’s beds at night.
b. It makes up most of the mass of our universe.
c. It should always be washed at 30C on a delicate cycle.

10. The LHC is the biggest experiment in the world, but how much does it cost the UK each year?

a.  The same as a pint of beer per adult.
b.  The same as a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon champagne per adult.
c.  The same as a glass of tap water per adult.

Correct answers:

1.  a
2.  c
3.  c
4.  b
5.  a
6.  b
7.  a
8.  c
9.  b
10. a


If you scored…

...8 or over: Congratulations! You are the Higgs boson, the pride and joy of the physics community (assuming you do exist…).

...Between 5 and 7: You are anti-matter. Produced routinely during LHC particle collisions, you’re pretty popular with CERN researchers, who are counting on you to teach them more about how our universe was formed.

...4 or less: You are a neutron. Dirt common, to physicists you’re one of most humdrum particles of them all.

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