Professor Stephen Hawking visits the ATLAS cavern

27 September 2006 | By

In the LHC tunnel just before the ATLAS cavern, with Luis Alvarez-Gaume and Thomas Hertog from the CERN TH Unit on the left. (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)
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Stephen Hawking in the ATLAS cavern side-C. (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

On Tuesday 26 September 2006 the ATLAS Collaboration was honoured by a very special visit to the detector in the underground cavern by Professor Stephen Hawking, the famous cosmologist holding the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University (position held by Isaac Newton in the 17th century).

Professor Hawking was very keen to check for himself the status of the detector installation, and he admired, in particular, the spectacular TGC big muon wheel on side C.

He was intrigued about the huge LHC interaction rate. He enquired about the differences between the SSC and the LHC, and was skeptical about the existence of the Higgs boson. He believes more in microscopic black holes.

Hawking's theory predicts spectacular events when black holes are produced. These microscopic black holes are expected to evaporate immediately by "Hawking radiation"