Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Of Big Bangs and Little Particles

Yesterday one of my co-workers passed me a link to this amazing article from the BBC: Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang.'

The LHC is an enormous scientific complex that forms a circular tunnel 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) long beneath the border between Switzerland and France. On November 7th, scientists used the vast machine to accelerate lead ions to almost unimaginable speeds before smashing them together to create a miniature 'Big Bang,' duplicating the conditions thought to exist in the first milliseconds after the real 'Big Bang' and resulting in temperatures more than a million times hotter than the center of the Sun.

Two questions come to mind regarding this amazing scientific feat:

1. Why on earth would we want to do this in the first place?; and,

2. If the experiment created a temperature a million times hotter than the center of the sun, why didn't it melt the whole complex?


According to the BBC article, the experiment allowed scientists to observe the conditions that existed - literally - at the beginning of time. It should permit them to study the "Higgs Boson," quarks, gluons, and other odd particles that make up the universe at its very smallest level of existence. I find this fascinating. I actually thought that a boson was the guy who blows the silly whistle when the admiral comes on board the ship, but I guess I was wrong.

Many people object to the existence of the LHC because of their fear that it could create a true 'big bang,' a vast and uncontrollable explosion that could, theoretically, destroy the earth. This fear has apparently not come to pass. Nevertheless, there are other dangers that could result from the LHC's experiments ...

I am greatly concerned that future experiments with the LHC could release enormous quantities of morons - highly-charged political particles with a high rate of spin, no atomic (or intellectual, for that matter) weight, and - unlike quarks - no charm. We've already got enough of those that have been generated by the Republican and Democratic parties, the Tea Party, and similar critical masses that form under conditions of intellectual vacuum.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Have a good day. Beware of morons.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

Sounds like scary experiments to me....

Raquel's World said...

Well now I'm scared.

KathyA said...

I'm laughing so hard I'm having trouble typing!

Think of the implications. Can't you just see a re-writing of WAR OF THE WORLDS? "The morons have landed!!!"

Mike said...

I saw a higgs boson the other night. It was sleeping under a bush in my backyard.