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Large! Hadron! Collidor! can self destruct in new and exciting ways

Posted by: salambander

Tagged in: Untagged 

Not only has the LHC overheated and been shut down for a bit, it might just explode when it's turned on again!

It appears that a certain kind of particle (many of which are swimming around inside the LHC) becomes explosive when exposed to humongous magnets, like, perhaps, the enormous magnetic forces that make the LHC hum.

As much as I think the scientific discoveries that could be made using the LHC are pretty damn awesome, I have to wonder at how much energy it's drawing and if it's really worth it. And if it self-destructs, many people could get hurt.

It would be interesting to hear some ways in which the theories they hope to prove through the use of the LJC could actually help us. Hey, here's one - it could prove the big bang theory, thereby proving that the universe was not made in seven days.

But if you truly have faith, you could justify that as God clapping his hands and turning on the lights. If you believe strongly enough in anything you can find an explanation to suit it. So that's the LHC-can-disprove-religion thing defenestrated.

What else is there? Could particle physics cure HIV/AIDs? Could they cure cancer, or provide food and shelter for the poor, or create jobs for unskilled labourers, or put an end to war, famine and disease?

I think that's unlikely. It looks like a bunch of kids playing with a really big, really expensive, potentially destructive toy that's guzzling energy, and so I ask again - is it worth it?

PS: I'm not saying the LHC isn't awesome. I'm just wondering if everything that's gone into it could have been put to better use.

Comments (4)Add Comment
written by Dissol, September 30, 2008
Salambander. The LHC is not about to explode...or swallow up the world. It has had a couple of leaks (the whole thing has to be cooled to near absolute zero to work), but they will get it fixed over the coming months.

The LHC is not out to "disprove a god" or anything (in fact it is hard to prove a negative). But as a pure science experiment it may just give us the start to some really fundamental questions, and no one really knows where the answers may lead us. But I am certain that mankind will benefit HUGELY over the coming years / decades. You are presently using an invention from a previous experiment at CERN; the World Wide Web was developed to allow scientists from there to share ma*sive amounts of data quickly and effectively.

Is it expensive? Well yes...of course you could build thousands of schools or hospitals for the same money... But look at it another way - it is cheaper than the Beijing Olympics...and much more likely to benefit mankind than an adult sports day...

Have a look at my posts about the LHC.
written by salambander, September 30, 2008

1. I was referring to this article: with regard to explosion, not the overheating.

2. I know it won't swallow up the world. For pete's sake. I was being dramatic, trying to keep it interesting.

3. Maybe you're right about future benefits. And the WWW is pretty damn awesome. But irrelevant - I'm talking about particle physics, not data-sharing.

4. I'm not too keen on the Olympics either. I just think it's funny that governments worldwide are going, "Like, omg, global warming is REAL?" and then hosting ma*sive things like the F1 at night in Singapore and the Beijing Olympics.

5. I think the LHC is awesome, will seriously give us answers and make us ask even more questions, and therefore I support it. I just don't support the prioritisation of it over social services. smilies/smiley.gif
written by salambander, September 30, 2008
Argh. This is the article I was talking about:
written by Dissol, September 30, 2008
1. OK...I think the article you refer to is being dramatic, trying to keep it interesting! :grin

2. OK - I get it!

3. Well, that's the thing, some of the benefits will not be direct. But directly they may find new particles, which will allow us to understand the very, very small - like nano technology (read super small, super fast computers, etc.) and the very, very big such as black holes, dark matter, and the like, (read space exploration, perhaps new energy sources, new materials etc.)

4. Hmm...I do think we need a balance...and no sport would make a sad world...but should perhaps be less wasteful as a species...

5. Directly, I would support social services in comparison. But this is not direct. I would prefer the world spent money on the LHC rather than presidential jets, government buildings, expensive court cases (guess who has been paying for the officials involved with the Zuma / Mbeki affair...certainly not either of those two...) Again, we need balance...which we don't seem to have.

I am really excited by the LHC...and have been reading all sorts of exciting articles. Have a look at some of the different sites connected to CERN. I admit that some of them have stretched my little mind to breaking point...and beyond...but I am enjoying the stretch...

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