Thursday, September 4, 2008

Of scientists and ‘normal’ people

On September 10, the world’s largest particle accelerator complex, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, will finally be switched on.
By recreating energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, scientists hope to gain insights into mysteries of the universe, ranging from dark matter to supersymmetric particles. Most enticingly, the LHC could produce the elusive Higgs boson, and supply a long-standing missing link in the Standard Model of particle physics: the question of why matter has mass.
It could also produce the end of the world as we know it. Some theorists claim that the LHC could create black holes which could consume the planet, or a strangelet that would convert earth into a dense dead lump of strange matter. Lawsuits seeking to halt the LHC’s startup have been filed before the District Court of Hawaii, and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. CERN dismisses such doomsday claims as unscientific bunkum. But frankly, anyone who knows enough physics to understand the risk would be too excited by the LHC’s possibilities to even dream about dismantling it.
I for one am all in favour of switching on the LHC. It has the potential to reveal wonderful new truths about our universe. And as any geek knows, microscopic black holes evaporate almost instantaneously due to Hawking radiation. Rather more concerning is the fact that owing to the random nature of quantum physics, there is always a minuscule, but nonzero, chance of anything occurring. Theoretically, the LHC could produce another Himesh. But if the LHC does indeed bring doomsday for our planet, we can at least reflect that being spaghettified by a black hole of our own creation is not an altogether uncool way to die.

4 comments:

Pratiti said...

yaay! i comment first! and strange is deleting and coming back. coming back is not so strange, come to think of it, just the deleting part.

Abhiroop said...

To quote One who is Higher and Wiser than all of us.....

"Tor ki mone hoi eta khub COOOOL way to die???"

Indecision Personified! said...

hey... do you make all these stick figures yourself and then post it on the blog or do you find them online? if you make them... how do you do it? on paint?

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

I wonder what became of this experiment. *googles*