I would be derelict in my duties were I not to bring the readers at Blogcritics up to date on the goings-on at the Swiss Hadron Collider. We surely recall my well-received article a few short months ago which began with the heartwarming true story of a teen-aged schoolgirl from the United Kingdom who was concerned that the Hadron Collider, an eight billion dollar device built by the world's scientists on the border of Switzerland and France intended to accelerate small bits of matter to lights speeds with the aim of slamming them together, would bring an abrupt end to the world and to the universe. Her concern was that she would never know the joy of sex — the poor dear!
The possibility of the universe — all time, all space — suddenly ending should not be taken lightly. As I wrote at the time, the much revered Albert Einstein believed that matter at the speed of light has "infinite mass." He further believed that splitting, or in this case slamming particles together, at the speed of light would produce energy at the level of "(the involved) mass multiplied by the speed of light." The speed of light we know is about 186,000 miles per second. Thus if we were to produce energy equaling infinite mass times the speed of light — it’s a dire prediction!
The stated purpose of the top scientific minds of the world is to provide information on the Big Bang (!) and black holes, which may provide some key to the beginning of the universe. Seems a bit ironic; study the beginning, produce the end — all very boggling.
Our faith in these scientists is confirmed when we read that they are going to photograph the collision with a bank of cameras capable of taking 2000 pictures every second. Some people I propose have no grasp of the speed of light. At my last writing I wrote this is “not unlike a Renaissance painter in oils trying to record the takeoff of a single hummingbird on a single specific occasion."
So then the news. According to the Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2009, the collider is once again up and running, this time determined to complete the long-awaited smashing! Now they are measuring progress in "electron volts". They successfully accelerated twin beams of protons, rushing in opposite directions, to 1.18 electron volts in late November.
The collider isn't even at full power yet. In coming weeks, the international team of physicists and engineers who built the machine in a 17-mile circular tunnel 300 feet underground is planning to gradually increase the energies in each of the proton beams. The long-awaited collision at just below the speed of light will come when the electron beams reach 14 trillion electron volts, this in a matter of weeks.
So my friends, we may not have to wait for polar shift, as in the movie 2012, or asteroidal impact (see "The Dark Asteroid Is Still Coming"), to begin our journey into the unknown. That great group, Bread, may have said it best:
If the world should stop revolving,
Spinning slowly down to die,
I'd spend the end with you
And when the world was through,
Then one by one the stars would all go out,
Then you and I would simply fly away…