(I Feel Fine)

 

Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein

Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein

I have to confess, I’m a little bit disappointed that the world didn’t end today. According to Professor Brian Cox (not the actor, actually the former D:Ream ‘superstar‘), it never would have, but it was a nice story while it lasted. I like a science story that has apocalyptic overtones, and occasionally the thought of not having to come into work because you’ve been crushed into an infinitesimal speck by an artificial black hole has a certain appeal.

 

The affair has certainly captured public imagination in a way that physics rarely does. So much so that most people have completely missed the point, which is the benchmark of success for such a controversial media affair. In fact, no-one’s setting out to create a black hole, or to work out ways by which the earth might accidentally be wiped out. In fact, no-one really understands what has actually happened today past a handful of physics nerds; it’s probably for the best. As I understand it, the Large Hadron Collider is a particle accelerator on megalithic scale, designed to be unbelievably precise in its judgements and to shed light on the infamous, hypothetical ‘god particle’, the Higgs Boson, to help scientists understand matter vs. anti-matter, and the mysterious dark matter (until now only known to be produced by a Nibbler). 

What all this means is anyone’s guess, but I suppose it’s nice to see people getting worked up by important, intelligent things rather than celebrity, or reality TV.

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