October 10, 2011
Higgs Boson App Released For Android Devices
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider -- located on the French-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland -- have unveiled a new free app for Google Android phones and tablet computers that lets users see events unfolding live inside the particle accelerator in a 3D view.
The app, called LHSEE, has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times. It was created by scientists, led by Dr Alan Barr, at Oxford University and has full approval of CERN. While the app doesn´t capture everything, it does offer an exhilarating insight into the world of ℠Big Science.´The app also offers a variety of educational resources and users can learn how the different parts of the detector work and learn how to identify different types of collisions. It also comes with a “Hunt the Higgs” game, which allows users to try to identify which subatomic particles are involved.
LHSEE is pitched at “experts and non-experts alike.” The app features tutorial videos about the ATLAS detector to provide an easy “way in.” It looks intimidating at first, but with some persistence, even the most novice users can use the app with ease.
“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,” Barr wrote on the official Oxford University 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,” he wrote. “Then, a few months later, I had one of those eureka moments that make Oxford so wonderful.”
“I was having a cuppa in the physics common room, and happened to overhear a conversation from Chris Boddy, one of our very many bright Oxford physics graduate students,” wrote Barr. “He was telling his friends that for fun he was writing some small test games for his Android phone. Well you just can´t let moments like that pass.”
With the LHC predicted to either find the Higgs Boson -- often referred to as the God Particle -- or prove its non-existence next year, being able to watch events unfold live via the LHSEE app should prove popular.
“Our hope is that people can now appreciate the science all the more - and perhaps even be a little inspired,” wrote Barr.
There are currently no plans to introduce the app to the iPhone.
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