More than 300 TBs of data from the Large Hadron Collider are now available to the public

Contributed by
Apr 25, 2016

If you’ve been jonesing to dig through more data than you could ever conceivably comprehend about cutting edge science, here’s the ticket.

CERN has released more than 300 terabytes of data from the Large Hadron Collider, which encompasses approximately half of the experiment conduction of the LHC during 2011. That data set covers around 250 trillion particle collisions, aka 2.5 inverse femtobarns of data. Put simply: It’s a literal mountain of science data. Very cool, but a few PhDs would probably come in handy if you’re wanting to work through it.

"Once we’ve exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly," CMS physicist Kati Lassila-Perini said in a statement. "The benefits are numerous, from inspiring high-school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow. And personally, as CMS’s data-preservation co-ordinator, this is a crucial part of ensuring the long-term availability of our research data."

Despite the heftiness of the findings, The Verge notes CERN made a concerted effort to ensure the data is at least somewhat understandable for armchair scientists. They’ve compiled the data into "primary datasets" that are literally used by CERN researchers, and more accessible "derived datasets" broken down for mainstream readers. If you’re at a high school or college looking for a very cool data project, this should do the trick.

Plus, hey, maybe some keen-eyed reader might stumble across the meaning of life in all those particle collisions. Or, even better, luck into a lightning storm and tap into the Speed Force (just sayin').

(Via The Verge, CMS)