Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The God Particle
It's interesting to note that sometime today, the Large Hadron supercollider (LHC) and particle accelerator 300 feet below ground in Switzerland was supposed to start things colliding inside a huge cavern stuffed with 8-story gold wheels and as much metal as has the Eiffel Tower. All this has to do with particle physics--gluons, neutrinos, charmed quarks, antimatter, etc, and most interestingly, with the Higgs Boson particle (the God particle), whose existence is central to modern physics. It's supposed to tell us (if it does exist) more about the origins of the universe, string theory, alternate dimensions.... It has been suggested that this expensive and grand experiment might, upon ignition, create a mini-black-hole that will devour the planet upon which we stand in a matter of seconds. I think I remember that before they split the first atom, in the first experimental bomb detonated at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945, some scientists believed there was a possibility that the fission process would expand, and keep expanding in one colossal uncontrollable explosion that would kill us all. And they did it anyway.
In light of a slow demise caused by global warming, fires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, wars, and rumors of wars, that doesn't sound too bad. But you will probably be relieved to hear (if you have not already been told) that the experiment has been postponed until later in the year. So it looks like we won't be dying today.
I find this all very interesting because the thing was first supposed to have been built right here in Utah! But, alas! wasn't.
(UPDATE: 50 days 12 hours 15 minutes until the next try....which would make it, like, um, the Fourth of July! Perfect!)