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Forecast: No Goo

September 11, 2008

So, probably one of the biggest scientific experiments in the history of the world began on Thursday and most of the people on Earth maintained their mundane existence, ignoring the fact that science is cool! But really, all science geek sayings aside, the firing up of the Large Hadron Collider somewhere 100 meters under the ground in Switzerland/France could turn out to be one of the most important scientific moments in human history.

Though the particle physics involved are largely incomprehensible to anyone not carrying several sets of important letters after their name and wearing a white lab coat, I think anyone can grasp the general idea. The LHC* basically sends protons traveling around at almost the speed of light in opposite directions, causing them to crash into each other. When they crash, the energy is converted into mass, creating new particles. What the researchers are looking to do is, essentially, create a “Mini-Bang” in a controlled environment to see how the universe was formed, why it stays together, why it hasn’t been annihilated by the anti-matter created when particles collide and whether the Higgs Boson particle exists.**

Just in case that made zero sense, here’s an educational rap that I hope gets nominated for a VMA, cause I’d love to see what these guys would wear on the red carpet. The editors at UsWeekly might pass out.

Plus, it gets even better…lots of weird quasi-scientists seem to think the LHC is going to create black holes which will swallow the Earth and the rest of our universe with it. But no big deal. The real physicists say, no, there is no chance of the Earth turning to “goo” as the Times so eloquently put it.*** Plus, Stephen Hawking said the Earth will not be swallowed up by a black hole created by the LHC. Thus, I believe it, I mean, he has a robot voice, he must be smart. You have to love those anti-LHC guys for trying though, mad scientists are some of the craziest crazy people of all. If only they would put their energy into creating a time machine out of a DeLorian instead of trying to stop real science.

Lastly, different research teams own the different pieces of the LHC which analyze the particles. Thus, I present Physicist Smack Talk 2008.

But really, what this means for all of us non-physicists/geniuses/robot-voiced people is that science is reaching places we have never seen it go. Which I think is promising, knowing how many people each year are suffering from and dying of cancer, AIDS and other diseases that need to be cured. If we can recreate the “Big Bang,” I’m convinced that we can make progress against some of the most vicious diseases on Earth.

As long as we let the Europeans do it.


*That’s what all the big nerds cool kids are calling it

**Simple as that. Plus, if the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist, physicists will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a whole new theory on where mass comes from, whoops. Let’s hope they find it.

***Good thing newspapers write to an 8th grade reading level, otherwise we’d be having another Y2K-type scare. Or, even better, all the dumb people would run to the tops of buildings (a la “Independence Day”) and get sucked into these black holes.


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