Some say it might destroy the world, and others say it looks just like the Stargate, but you and I know the blazing glory that is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is just going to do a few little things to change our whole conception of reality. You know, like smashing protons together to recreate the conditions that prevailed in the universe right after the Big Bang. Here you can see the outer barrel of the LHC's compact muon solenoid experiment, which will examine what's happening in an energy region known as the "terascale." Which sounds totally Marvel Comics. Peek below for more hot proton-on-proton action.

Here's the endcap of the ATLAS detector, which contains several layered cylinders around the spot where the where the LHC's proton beams will smash into each other.

Here you can see the gigantic electromagnetic calorimeter, which is 6x7 square meters. According to the Boston Globe:



[It] consists of 3300 blocks containing scintillator, fibre optics and lead. It will measure the energy of particles produced in proton-proton collisions at the LHC when it is started. Photons, electrons and positrons will pass through the layers of material in these modules and deposit their energy in the detector through a shower of particles.

In other words: This device measures the output of the smashed protons.

No, it's not some steampunk fantasy gear. This is a huge magnet that will become part of the endcap of the ATLAS detector we showed you above. Want to see more hardcore physics experiment insanity? Check out the amazing set of photos at the Boston Globe. The LHC goes online and starts smashing tiny particles later this year. Large Hadron Collider Nearly Ready [via Boston Globe] (Thanks, Gonzalo Sanchez!)