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Hadron Collider to Restart in September

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Have you noticed the seemingly unending stream of articles and conjecture concerning the celebrated particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider? The most recent comes from the UK Telegraph, and concerns a teenaged schoolgirl who sought to have underage sex and to lose her virginity before the Collider brought about the end of the world. She didn't want to die without at least trying it. Makes sense.

Prior to starting up the LHC in 2008, Stephen Hawking and other scientists pointedly denied claims that the accelerator would produce a black hole which would annihilate the planet. "Ridiculous!" you say. But the revered and distinguished physicist Albert Einstein set forth some principles that reinforce that Armageddon-inducing possibility.

The Large Hadron ColliderThe Hadron Collider is a 17-mile long circular tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland, built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to magnetically propel small gold particles to a speed approaching the speed of light, this in a vacuum environment at cold space temperatures — temperatures near absolute zero. The small particles would be moving at those light speeds, in opposite directions, with the intent of a collision, which would be photographed and studied, to provide information related to the Big Bang, black holes, and various other theoretical phenomena.

During September of 2008, the Collider ran into a problem when a faulty electrical connection between two of its magnets caused a malfunction in the cooling system that subsequently led to a helium leak. Now, after extensive repair, we are told the Collider will again be up and running by the end of 2009, possibly during this month of September.

What, you may ask, is all this talk about Armageddon? The 21st century scientists who developed the colossus tell us we have nothing to fear from banging particles together at light speeds. I fail to be calmed. When scientists first split the atom there was concern that we may burn a hole through the planet. Now that we are colliding particles head-on, instead of splitting, some have registered similar fears.

The notorious scientists have taken pains to still our fears. They point out that no two particles of matter can exceed the speed of light in relation to one another. If two chunks of matter were racing away from one another, each at very near the speed of light, by some complex process only explainable in mathematical lexicon (is that an oxymoron?) the calculable relative speed is still below the speed of light — about 186,000 miles per second.

These same scientists assure us that all the matter in the universe was once contained in a space so tiny as to be nearly nonexistent. About the size of the tiniest part of the atom. Some of these scientific theories fail to instill me with confidence.

Einstein theorized that the energy produced by splitting atoms equals the mass of the assembled atoms, multiplied by the speed of light squared; that is to say, multiplied by itself.

CERN, who have conceded that one of their lessor goals is to debunk some of Dr. Einstein's theories, say that the mass of the particles involved in the proposed collision is so small that the energy produced would be a mere sneeze in the wind. But Einstein said that a particle moving at 186,000 miles/second has "infinite mass." Infinite mass. What, then, does that do to our equation? Two particles with infinite mass, being smashed together, at the speed of light (maybe twice the speed of light!), should produce energy equaling infinite mass times the speed of light squared (at least).

If someone suggests that such a man-made collision could in theory bring about the end of the entire universe, all matter, all time — is that justifiable?

"Like two universes coming together, and everything flying apart!"

The collision will be recorded by an array of cameras capable of taking 2000 photos every second. This is the speed of light we are talking about, folks. To my thinking, that is not unlike a Renaissance painter in oils trying to record the takeoff of a single hummingbird on a single specific occasion.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Thanks for the update. We’ll start refuelling the family spaceship (to make our quick getaway) this week….

  • zingzing

    i can’t tell who’s joking around here.

  • STM

    Someone should go and put another leak in the stupid thing.

    Better still, put the maniacs who dreamt this up inside their collider, and have them collide at the speed of light.

    Black holes, mini or not … this is definitely one thing no one should be farting around with.

    Look what we unleashed with the atom bomb.

    It’s only good luck rather than good management that we aren’t a pile of rubble floating somewhere between Mars and Venus as a result of that one.

  • Ortwin S.

    Like particle smashing is something new.
    If such a thing could happen Fermilab would have done it in the 70’s.

    They are like small children, breaking things up to see whats inside.

    Mr. Lake, you’r not doing Einstein a favor by raping his theories like you just did.

  • objective

    Unfortunately this article is full of very poor basic physics. Did you ever do any?

  • Meh

    wow, you know nothing about physics, please before you write anything credible do some reading.

    Why would theories not instill you with confidence, they are theories that’s what they are suppose to do. No scientist is confident in their theory, that’s why they constantly test them to see if they hold true.

    That’s the reason they are building the collider, to test all sorts of theories which scientist aren’t confident about.

  • STM

    Meh: “That’s the reason they are building the collider, to test all sorts of theories which scientist aren’t confident about”


    Which is the reason every bastard should be worried.

    Personally, I’d feel a lot more confident if they were testing theories they ARE confident about.

    It’s a bit like an aerobatic flight without a parachute.

    Science says everything’s fine … until the wing snaps.

    That’s the point science says everything’s not fine, as gravity takes over.

    Which is where the parachute comes in handy.

    Unfortunately, the Hadron collider doesn’t come with one.

  • STM

    Of course, there’s an upside to all this.

    The one saving grace in the event of catastrophe will be that France will be among the first of the nations of the world to disappear into any black hole.

    For a few minutes, we’d at the very least be free of bad waiters.

    In the case of Switzerland, no one will notice that it’s gone.

  • BigLarry1337

    If you’ve read any of the scientific papers and journals written about this topic you would realize that even if black holes are produced they would be micro black holes, so infinitesimally small they would snuff themselves out almost instantly.

  • Xavier

    You’re wrong, its not starting in September.

  • John Lake

    Thank you folks for your comments.
    Meh says: //That’s the reason they are building the collider, to test all sorts of theories which scientist aren’t confident about.//
    STM picked up on that right away. Stole my thunder!
    If I had been of a more serious frame of mind I might have posed some conjecture as to the expense of the project.
    Transparency, and accountability, right?

  • Criss

    “Einstein said that a particle moving at 186,000 miles/second has “infinite mass.””

    At CERN the particles move near the speed of light.
    You miss the “NEAR” word, present in every serious communique about LHC. This tinny little word makes all the difference between end of the world and an expensive test tube experiment.
    Remember that politicians leveled Hirosima, not the physicists!

  • John Lake

    To Criss:
    The Scientists tell us that in fact the particles will be moving considerably slower than the speed of light. And therein lies the difference.
    However I might post this argument.
    A particle in our “Milky way” is traveling at “near the speed of light”; in Andromeda, a similiar particle is traveling at that speed, coincidently at a course directly away from the “Milky Way” piece. Scientist reaffirm that relative to one another they can’t possibly be exceeding the fabled “186..”; but the point is, I remain skepticle.

  • Christian A.

    To Mr. Lake: Einsteins theory of special relativity has been a revolution in 1905, it changed how we look at the world. However, its effects get only noticable when something is moving near the speed of light (a speed which cannot be achieved by anything plagued with mass).

    a) The faster a particle is moving relative to you, the more of the energy you use to accelerate it gets converted to mass. The nature of the process is such, that you need infinite amounts of energy to get a particle with infinite mass. So, these “infinite mass” particles will never happen.
    b) Since the speed of light is quite high compared to speeds we directly feel, we can never experience the effects of relativistic addition of speeds. But the key point you should consider is that special (and general) relativity is a theory that makes a number of predictions and has many applications in physics. Not one prediction of experiments that could be done until today has been shown to be false, and the applications (like Diracs relativistic formulation of Schroedingers equation in quantum mechanics) boost the accuracy of given theories to new levels. So, anything we know points towards that the theory of relativity is true. That means that the relativistic addition of speeds is the one to be used.

    I don’t know much about general relativity, and special relativity says also something about inertial systems. That may imply your question regarding the two particles has no real meaning, but I cannot really comment on that.

  • John Lake

    Dr. Einstein made much ado about the speed of light and time travel. He clearly wanted his young physics’ students to be awestruck by the wonder of traveling in time and witnessing the past.
    In fact, we are discussing a simple theoretical passing of hte joutward racing light, and it is only logiclal and sensible that we should then see into the past. Einsteinian “time travel” then, is not a real phenomenon, only an ‘apparent phenomenon’. I sometimes suggest that the good Doctor was limited by his humanity. He couldn’t overcome the need to establish a point from which to view.
    More extreme still my impudent suggestion about the starting point of the Universe at the “Big Bang”. Was it “smaller than the smallest part of the atom”? Or did it just look that way, because no light could escape? Not dissimiliar from the familiar “If a tree falls in the forest, and no living thing hears – does it make a sound?”
    If all the matter in the universe were indeed moving out from a “big bang”, than any theorician however sophomoric in his thinking would conceed a single central point from which the movement started. But to say that the theoretical point was in space and time the eqivalent of the point in simple mathmatics seems calculated and improblable to my laymans thinking.

    Have a great day!
    John Lake

  • John Lake

    Xaviar –
    //Starting in September//
    From the Tehran Times: “The first beams of particles will be fired around the LHC’s 17-mile ring in September and the first collisions will follow about a month later, Dr. Evans told the Cheltenham Science Festival.”

  • Daisuke

    That was an error by the website and by the source that blog got it from. I been checking with CERN’s website and blog often, and the plan still says Mid-November, with low level collisions in December. People haven’t been keeping up with the LHC except some guys so it was easy to make an error. Rechecked CERN’s website and updates today, it’s debuting again Mid November.

  • Jay

    Why would a magnetic field accelerate gold particles? Gold isn’t magnetic.

  • Dan

    We see huge supernova explosions in space all the time. Maybe the supernova are actually caused by beings on a nearby planet playing with Hadron Colliders 🙂

  • Mark

    “with low level collisions in December”

    Get your holiday shopping done early this year, kiddos!

  • John Lake

    Prior to the Big Bang, a group of world scientists had assembed and produced an accelerator to bang particles at light speeds. They were certain the bang would be uneventful.
    I just checked and one source said that the view that the particles are gold is one of five common myths.

  • greg petersen

    o my godfather im going 2 throw me and all my family off the edge of the world just before they start it up again so i can spare them the horror of getting sucked in 2 this so called mini black hole all u scaremongeres/theorists have got ur heads stuck in O MYGODFATHER I can something pulling @ me now

  • greg petersen

    Its cool im allright its just the wife trying 2 get me 2 come bck 2 bed now i am being sucked in 4 real what a way 2 go ‘yippeee yi oh’

  • ROCK

    LHC is going to be one of the biggest blunder created by man..those jokers who call them self as scientists don’t know end result of the crap operaion.

  • STM

    There was a young lass named Godiva,

    Who played with a Large Hadron Collider,

    When the world suddenly went flat,

    She said, “My look at that,

    I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, Sir”.

  • Mark Richardson

    I thought that Einstein said that “matter moving at the speed of light would need infinte energy” not infinite mass.

  • STM

    Who cares, we’re all going to disappear anyway.

  • JonB

    Are we still in the effing dark ages that we fear what we don’t understand?

    Just like the people in Africa who won’t get vaccines because they fear it’s a plot of the Westerners. Or that AIDS doesn’t exist, etc.

    Are we ever gonna advance as a species, or will we always have the ignorant amongst us?

  • STM

    There’s a big difference inventing the printing press and the internal combustion engine and a machine that creates black holes for fun, no matter – there’s that word again – how small (although ultimately, both might have the same end result)

    As I say, I’d prefer they were doing experiments about something they know, not something they don’t.

  • John lake

    Watch for my forthcoming article on the
    dark asteroid, Apophis.

  • Stan @ #25:

    I strongly advise you not to tender a letter of resignation from the employment position at which you labour during the hours of sunlight.

  • STM

    I’ve got a better one Doc:

    There was a young man from Dundee,

    Who was stung on the head by a wasp,

    When asked if it hurt,

    he said not very much,

    It can do it again if it likes.

  • There once was a Pom in the States,
    Who got stuck in a silly limerick war with some crazy Aussie surfer dude.
    It got so they didn’t rhyme,
    And didn’t even scan,
    And didn’t have anything to do with particle physics.

    (This actually was a limerick before they turned the Collider on. The universe didn’t swallow itself, but there were nonetheless some unexpected side effects and the place is now even more bizarre and less predictable than before.)

  • STM

    Ho ho. How’s this one then Doc:

    There was a young man named Roger,

    Who huffed about like an old codger,

    So when they gave me a treat,

    At the dinner party seat,

    I said “Not next to him, he’s a dodger”.

    (Alternative last line: I said “not next to him, he’s my lodger”)

    Gee, mate, that particle collider’s having some kind of weird effect on my brain.

    It’s on right now, is it?? Oh, dear …

  • Clavos

    I strongly advise you not to tender a letter of resignation from the employment position at which you labour during the hours of sunlight.

    At least not in order to become a Limerickian scribbler…

  • Clavos

    A Draughtsman residing in Poole
    Was possessed of a singular tool.
    Said he, matter-of-factly,
    It’s twelve inches exactly
    But I don’t use it much as a rule.

  • lol, Clav. That is great. Did you write that?

    Stan’s 32, I recognize that one. That’s a good one, too.

  • Clavos

    No, Cindy, I wish I had, I too thought it quite clever.

    I found it here.

  • STM

    Another Roger limerick, from the same site

    There was a young girl from Cape Cod,

    Who thought babies came only from God.

    T’wasn’t the Almighty

    Who lifted her nightie.

    T’was Roger the Lodger, by god!

  • STM

    Natucket seems to get a good go in Limericks. Wonder why that is …

    But my all time fave is about the young woman from Ealing.

  • STM

    On the internet, though, the second line always seems to be wrong …

    It should be: ” … who had a MOST peculiar feeling”.

    Sorry to bugger up your thread with silly limericks, John, but I think it’s the Large Hadron Collider creating havoc with the space/time continuum.

  • Akismet doesn’t like the limerick I wrote about Stan.

  • There was a rapscallion named Stan.

  • Who came up with a horrible plan.
    He fit kangaroos with
    athletic shoes.
    So, rather than hopping, they ran.

  • There once was a hellion named Nils
    Who corrected folks’ grammar for thrills.
    They continually balked,
    as their errors, he stalked.
    While he fended off flack for his skills.

  • Clavos


    You have a real talent, Cindy! Both of those are quite good.

    I’m not only very flattered, I’m super impressed!

  • zingzing


  • Clav,

    (lol, wonder if I could get a job making limericks)

    Here’s a mediocre one. But it’s only about Dave. So, that’s okay.

    There once was a farking mean old greedy codger named Dave.
    Who confused life with wealth he could save.
    He thought if you were poor,
    You should work like a whore.
    And so zing pimped him out as a slave.

    (yay zing)

  • Clavos

    I think we’re driving zing ’round the bend.

    [assuming, of course, that such a thing is possible]

  • i’m working on an anti-limerick for him

  • zingzing

    well, i do like the one about me pimping dave. and i like going around the bend. at least i’ll know what’s there.

  • STM

    Bravo, Cindy – very clever … love that you gave mine an Aussie flavour.

    I’ll have one about you by tomorrow 🙂


    The limericking, or the Collider?

  • zingzing

    my god, which would be worse, the torture of another limerick, or the sweet oblivion of a black hole sucking us into time-space?

    actually, the idea that this thing could result in a black hole is just about as stupid as a limerick.

  • Newsflash… Newsflash… Newsflash…

    We can all relax. Possibly. It’s just been announced by CERN that owing to a typo in the original design specifications, what has been constructed beneath the Swiss/French Alps is not in fact the Large Hadron Collider, a giant particle accelerator, but the Large Hadrian Collider.

    The purpose of this instrument is so that scientists can shoot pairs of 20-foot statues of ancient Roman emperors at high speeds in opposite directions around a 12-mile circular tunnel, then enjoy the visual and sound effects when the statues crash into one another.

    This experiment is set to continue until the interior of the mountain fills up with rubble and the cleaners go on strike.

  • Stan, my editor insists that ‘horrible’ be replaced with ‘curious’ in your limerick.

    (just so you have the final ‘print’ version, ready for publication.) 🙂

    BTW you people seem to have a sneaker fetish goin’ on over there if the articles I found are accurate?

    I let my snakers (that’s my Aussie accent) express who I yam?

  • I don’t think sneakers sell very well Down Under, Cindy. They’re not really suitable for surfing.

    Aussies only come ashore at dusk, and find flip-flops (which they call thongs) quite adequate for most land-based activities.

  • Dr.D,

    I have no clue about Australia (‘Cept that documentary about how everywhere you turn there’s another of the top rated deadliest critters that ever lived waiting to kick your ass.)

    Sole’d Out…an insight into the Australian sneaker culture…” I probably got taken in by some advert.

  • flip-flops (which they call thongs)

    Sounds like that would result in some pretty funny misunderstandings.

    Sorts like garters and suspenders?

    (Is that right? Hmmm, somehow I imagine the word braces also in use somewhere.)

  • that documentary about how everywhere you turn there’s another of the top rated deadliest critters that ever lived waiting to kick your ass.

    Fair dinkum, Cindy. The world’s deadliest snake. Spiders that only eat tiny bugs but pack enough venom to drop a herd of elephants just by looking at them. Kangaroos that can kill you with one kick. Giant flightless birds with vicious talons that can disembowel you with a single swipe. Paralysis ticks. Man-eating crocodiles. Jellyfish whose sting is the worst pain a human can experience. There’s even a poisonous mammal, for crying out loud.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a wonder any Australians make it to adulthood.

  • flip-flops (which they call thongs)

    Sounds like that would result in some pretty funny misunderstandings.

    No kidding. I’ll save Stan from having to retell the story of the time he went into a surf shop in LA and asked the girl behind the counter if he could look at her thongs.

  • No kidding.

    Anyone else think that would be a great brand name for a contraceptive?

  • STM

    Oh, our sweet Cindy true,
    Cindarella has nothing on you.
    If I were a prince
    (Please, Doc, don’t wince!)
    I’d be giving you more than a shoe.

    (Not an STM original, but pretty good eh guys??)

  • STM

    Thongs. Essential piece of rubber beach footwear in Australia, fetching undergarment in the US. Recipe for disaster, that one.

    Of course, the other disaster area is entree:

    Somehow, Americans have made the entree into the main course, while everywhere else in the English-speaking world it has its original meaning (the appetiser).

    Asking for an entree in America means you get a humungous meal BEFORE they deliver your main course (which is of equally humungious size).

    Of course, in my experience, many Americans do tend to order large portions and then leave half of it.

    Even a standard caesar salad in America is enough to feed three people.

  • STM

    And don’t get started on the horse’s doover

  • STM

    Sorry, make that “don’t get me started”

  • Stan,

    I love that!!! :-)(-:
    (that was me doing a flip)

    No kidding, Dr.D–you’re on to something there.

  • Glad you think so, Cindy.

    And, in the same spirit, we could market an anti-diarrheal medicine called No Shit.

  • Asking for an entree in America means you get a humungous meal BEFORE they deliver your main course (which is of equally humungious size).

    Not exactly. The entree IS the main course. In most restaurants, though, the appetiser is the same size as the main course would be in restaurants elsewhere in the world.

    Rule of thumb: never, ever order an appetiser, even if you’re ravenous.

    Even with just the main course, Stan, as you’ve observed, it’s quite common for customers not to be able to finish the whole thing. You can, however, take the leftovers home in a box to reheat for lunch the next day.

    On the first day of my first-ever visit to the US, some of my wife’s friends took me out to lunch at a well-known burger joint which shall not remain nameless (Red Robin). I ordered an appetiser, a burger, Red Robin’s infamous bottomless fries (as soon as you’ve finished they bring more) and a dessert.

    One basket of fries and the appetiser down I realised I wasn’t going to make it through the meal.

    Can’t think why they didn’t warn me…

  • Clavos

    And, in the same spirit, we could market an anti-diarrheal medicine called No Shit.

    Its competitor would then be free to market a product named I Shit You Not.

  • STM

    Well Doc, I ordered an entree … then asked for a steak as a main course.

    So I got two main courses.

    However, since chaos reigned … I’d also ordered an appetiser. After I ordered the entree, they asked me about an appetiser, so I said “Yes, the shrimp, mate”, meaning yes, I’ve already ordered my appetiser – not realising that the entree wasn’t an appetiser.

    I think it was prawns. 1980 is such a long time ago.

    So I got two of those. A mid-sized large one, a giant one … plus a huge steak.

    It was like a Seinfeld episode, except I was paying.

    The restaurant owner was very kind and let me off the second entree – the big one – when I explained.

    He said, “Oh, yes, we’ve had that problem before”.

    All the American diners were giggling.

    I managed to eat it all, though, including the on-the-house entree and got a free glass of red.

    I love America.

    Back here they would have called the police.

  • Dave,

    In case you ever read your limerick. I made it mediocre, so it would be like a product of the ‘free market’. Something most people don’t seem to have much creative investment in. One side reducing everything to the cheapest thing that’ll get by and the other side without any stake in the process (despite ‘encouragement’).

  • John Lake

    read my article about the olympics!
    I think I noticed a GREAT LIMERICK in there.
    Something about a young woman of Nizes..
    Breasts of two different sizes.
    one was so small, it was nothing at all.
    The other was BIG, and won prizes!

  • That is awesome and hilarious, Stan.

    Wish Seinfeld did it. Maybe you could get your own show.

  • John Lake

    to right an original lim-er-ik
    would be a magnificient trick
    I would were I able
    right here at my table
    but I ran out of ink in my bic.

  • STM

    Thanks Cindy. One day I’ll tell you all about the time I walked into a surfshop in Manhattan Beach (LA) and asked the girls behind the counter if I could look at their thongs (flip-flops). I only found out later that in America thongs have a different meaning to Australia.

    Rooting means something else in Oz too. If you root for a team, you’ll be pretty sore at the end of it.

    Fanny is another minefield, and just one of hundreds I suspect.

    Sometimes it’s true that we’re the same people separated by a common language, as W.Churchill said.

    John, they weren’t talking about Yoko in that limerick were they?????

  • Physicist

    There once was a physicist named Fisk,
    whose stroke was exceedingly brisk,
    so quick was his action,
    that the Lorentz contraction,
    reduced his rod to a disk.

  • STM

    Lol. Nice one “physicist”.

    Another one for K…..y:

    A young Pommy social worker named Doc,

    Forced from London to stateside, ad-hoc,

    Said the missus: it’s Fresno or bust,

    But there were no beaches, or palms – only dust,

    But far worse, of course, than that: you can’t get a Cadbury’s choc.

  • john lake


    //John, they weren’t talking about Yoko in that limerick were they?????//

    YOKO? OH, NO..

  • STM

    Yep, you’re not wrong there

  • Clavos

    Funny stuff, John…

    (and you’re a good sport for playing along with the thread hijack)

  • John Lake

    thread hijack!!
    Just the information I needed!
    LOL is an antique by now.
    great day.

  • I loved John’s Olympic article. I recommend that to Clav especially (because I think he’d enjoy that very much). I also recommend it to the rest of you (heathens).

    (Great one about Dr.D Stan! lol)

  • I don’t know what’s loopier: the science, the science fiction or the string of comments your article on both has provoked. I’m off to have a beer before the world ends:)
    I had a lot of fun reading your article, Jack.

  • John Lake

    Jack!!? I tryed calling myself Jack during my stage acting period. Uhhh…
    The funny thing is, it (the world) may dissolve into naught at any moment.
    This is terrible.
    What kind of beer are we drinking?

  • Stan @ #78: I just saw this one. I’m honoured. (Note the spelling.)

    Few points:
    1. Have you somehow got the idea my real name is Kenny? If so, how the heck?
    2. If “K….y” doesn’t mean Kenny and instead means what I think it might mean, I don’t like being called that. 🙂
    3. I am not, nor have I ever been, a social worker. Thank fuck.
    4. There are in fact palm trees here. Unfortunately they’re in malls.
    5. A Canadian friend of ours just went to London and brought back some Dairy Milk and Fruit & Nut for us. Bliss.
    6. The stuff which masquerades as ‘Cadbury’s’ over here is nothing of the kind. It’s made under licence in the Hershey factory, and like everything Hershey makes tastes like caramelized vomit.

  • lol @ Caroline

  • zingzing

    well, well, well. they smashed some particles together this morning, so unless there’s a really, really slow black hole developing over switzerland, it looks like we’re all going to be just fine. not that they haven’t been doing so for a while… it’s just that today’s collision was 14 times as fast as the collisions they’ve been doing since novemeber.

    all you who believe whackjob conspiracy nuts over scientists can rest easy.

  • Right on, zing. NPR’s Morning Edition covered the story.

  • STM

    I just heard that France is slowly disappearing into a huge hole.

    They think it will take about half an hour, which is about the same amount of time they need to fix the Hadron collider and switch it off.

    Someone apparently suggested they fix it in 20 minutes and leave the south of France intact, but all the engineers were adamant: it’s a half-hour job.

  • At first, I thought you meant Franco, the old pal.

    He has disappeared.

  • STM

    Was Franco in Chile???? I thought he was from there. I thought I noticed him writing from there not long ago – hope if he was he’s OK.

  • Shoot,

    he may have disappeared during the earthquake or taken hostage by the looters for his ultra conservative views.

    Yes, it’s been two months at least.

  • Franco’s American, but lives in Chile and runs a business there.

    He’s been a sporadic – albeit energetic – commenter here, so I wouldn’t read too much into his absence. He’ll be back once something sparks his interest.

  • “all you who believe whackjob conspiracy nuts over scientists can rest easy.”

    Of course, that’s exactly what someone in on the conspiracy would write.

  • zingzing

    hey look! now they’re smashing ions together and creating mini-big bangs and temperatures a million times hotter than the center of the sun and the fucking world still hasn’t ended!

    this thing is incredible.

  • John Lake

    My particular current view is that the collider is highly over-rated. Since a black hole is a dense cluster of galaxies, each of which is a dense cluster of stars (I’m simplifying), they will never produce a black hole on Earth. There will be no mini-big bang. The only thing the scientists can realistically hope to accomplish is to produce some sub-atomic particles. They may be able to prove the important theory that energy under certain conditions (surpassing the speed of light) becomes matter. The theory says it will pulse; energy, matter, energy, matter. This kind of thing happens usually only in the center of stars, in sub-atomic prospective.

  • STM

    I still believe that black holes are the remains of Earth-like planets whose inhabitants had advanced their civilisations to the point where they could invent a Large Hadron Ciollider, and did …

  • zingzing

    john–of course they’re not creating stars and galaxies… they’re creating conditions like that of the big bang. hence the “mini” in “mini-big bang.” and yes, they are trying to study sub-atomic matter and energy.

    from an article on the recent ion-smashing thing:

    “”At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma.”

    Quarks and gluons are sub-atomic particles – some of the building blocks of matter. In the state known as quark-gluon plasma, they are freed of their attraction to one another. This plasma is believed to have existed just after the Big Bang.

    He explained that by studying the plasma, physicists hoped to learn more about the so-called strong force – the force that binds the nuclei of atoms together and that is responsible for 98% of their mass.”

    here’s the rest of the article. as they study the results, we’ll see what they’ve learned and whether or not it’s “highly overrated.” (but if you’re expecting them to create galaxies, they’re not going to do that… that’s impossible.)

  • zing, John didn’t say he was expecting stars and galaxies. Recreating for a minuscule fraction of a second conditions which existed for a minuscule fraction of a second immediately following the Big Bang is one thing. But the first stars and galaxies (and therefore black holes, assuming we’re correct about what they are) took a few million years after that to show up. So we’re in no danger of disappearing up our own event horizon.

    Aside from anything else, I don’t think CERN has funding for that amount of time.

  • zingzing

    alright… so what makes cern overrated then? its purpose was never to create black holes (that’d be silly), it was to do just what it’s doing now. to look into the conditions of the big bang. it’s well on its way to fulfilling that goal.

    so what was john expecting?

  • John Lake

    As I wrote, they are freeing for their view the subatomic particles that you mention. But with the few of them flying about, being “photographed” in the collider, they won’t coalesce, and no bangs (other than perhaps an Einsteinian one) will be produced.
    Incidentally, the ‘god particle’ (as the media calls it) or Higgs boson, is not a particle at all, rather a force, like magnetism or gravity, which holds atoms together, thus allowing the existence of matter.

  • so what makes cern overrated then?

    I think John just made a bad choice of words. He meant that all the hyperbole and scaremongering about the LHC bringing about the end of France/the Alps/the world/the universe/time/cheap flights distracts from the much less cinematic, but nonetheless awesome, stuff that the machine is designed to do.

  • John Lake

    As I said, no black holes, no incomprehensible ‘god particles’; I concede some valuable information. I also suspect a whole lot of money must have changed hands in the development of this scientific tool.

  • zingzing

    the “valuable information” may allow us to do amazing (or deadly) things. that’s the beauty (and shitty thing) of scientific research. how we will use what we learn from this stuff is far more important than what we actually learn. it may allow us to save lives, to extend lives, to transcend this existence, to create powerful engines, any manner of things. it could also teach us how to kill each other better. damn if we ain’t good at that already.

    and the higgs boson isn’t incomprehensible. it just hasn’t been observed. we shall see if we can “see” it doing its thing.

    i don’t think you’re properly in awe of our capabilities. and sure, a lot of money has been spent (and money, like energy, can never be used as efficiently as it should), but i think this is the most important thing going on in the world of physics at the moment. maybe i’m wrong, but this shit is mighty impressive. one of those “go humanity!” moments. we’re the shit.

  • John Lake

    Nobody tells me anything. I just now (Wednesday A.M.) became aware of the new release of information from the Hadron.
    BBC article
    I was right on target about the Higgs Boson. I may have misjudged the matter of the plasma.

  • zingzing

    that’s the same article i linked above. or very close to it. they’ll do other tests and study the information they’ve found from this one as well. higgs boson isn’t not not going anywhere.

  • John Lake

    I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t seen the news. I have reviewed late thinking about the Higgs Boson, and about the plasma; I have prepared a new article, which hopefully will be published tomorrow — certainly by Friday.

  • zingzing

    well, good. the hadron collider is one of our greatest steps forward in real world physics. no theoretical shit here. just pure scientific study. we’re going to learn a lot from this thing. and it’s not going to cause the end of the world. how that can disappoint anyone is beyond me.

    that said, i wish ruvy had built his spaceship. [Edited]

  • John Lake

    I might have said end of the universe, all space, all time — but, heck, who would believe that?