The Large Hadron Collider makes its debut today, amid lawsuits and some measure of fear that the daft physicists are about to kill us all.
Actually, that might be a mercy killing, but nevermind.
I’m sure it’s not just me, but that CERN globe looks like an upended wicker basket. Oh well, at least the LHC went to the establishment with the right name.
The idea here, in a nutshell, is to speed up some particles (protons, usually being easiest to get hold of and least difficult to control) to huge speeds by circling them around a track until they’re almost at light speed and then –zing!- the daft physicists place an object in their path,* and observe the ensuing carnage.
Usually this means looking at all kinds of subatomic particles flying off from the collision, and presumably learning more about them -like how they can stop world hunger or put the godsdamned ice floes back.
Daft physicists are flocking to CERN at this moment, most of them hoping that they’ll be the ones to actually find the UPSAP (Ultimate Patronising SubAtomic Particle) , also known as the Higgs Boson.
Which is, you know, theoretically existent, it’s just that we’ve never actually seen one. How embarrassing.
Anyway guys, if we all disappear in a puff of mini black hole sometime around lunchtime today. it’s been good knowing you.
I’ll probably go out singing:
” SIX , six SEVEN -the NEIGHbour of the Beast..”
*= Apologies. That’s indeed what I wrote this morning. I obviously was not paying sufficient attention-probably due to the proximity of the threat of death-by-blackhole.
The LHC is of course a hadron collider, not a fixed-target accelerator. So daft physicists will not, in fact, be trying to place a stationary object in the path of flying protons. They will instead be attempting to crash two beams of flying protons into each other.
I hope this makes you feel safer.