Sunday, March 21, 2010
Large Hadron Supercollider "Atom Smasher" Restarts
Last year, various religious organizations and gullible alarmists forecasted the end of everything. The world would soon come to an end, it was asserted, and it was all due to the collective scientific stubbornness and meddling stupidity of scientists at the CERN that were adamant about conducting experiments to prove that the Higgs Boson Particle, the so-called, "God particle," actually exists. No one knew what would happen when the supercollider actual reached its full working capacity. Some believed that a miniature black hole would be created, one that would, due to its very extreme nature of attraction, gobble the world up in short order. Some religious organizations had even attempted to stop the experiments by going to court, but they failed.
But what reason and religion and courts could not or simply did not stop, outright mechanical failure did. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) went off-line for repairs just nine days after it first powered up in September 2008. It was found that an electrical failure had released liquid helium into the supercollider's tunnel, a massive conduit 27 kilometers or 17 miles long). The repairs bled into more repairs and regularly scheduled shutdowns until November, when it was successfully tested and ran millions of particle accelerator collisions through December, when it was shut down again for technical maintenance.
In August 8, 2009, CERN restarted the Large Hadron Collider. They hope the higher energy will enable them to see particles so far undetected, such as the elusive Higgs Boson Particle, which in theory gives mass to other particles and objects and creatures in the universe.
Physicists have used smaller, room-temperature colliders for decades to study the atom. They once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of the atom's nucleus, but the colliders showed that they are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles. And they still have other questions about antimatter, dark matter and particle mass they want to answer with CERN's new collider.
They hope the fragments that come off the collisions will show on a tiny scale what happened one-trillionth of a second after the so-called Big Bang, which many scientists theorize was the massive explosion that formed the universe. The theory holds that the universe was rapidly cooling at that stage and matter was changing quickly.
On February 28, 2010, the Large Hadron Collider was restarted, and it seems that all systems are go again. This time the scientists will be looking for the Higgs Boson also referred to as the "God" particle and attempt to resolve whether or not "dark matter" and "dark energy" actually exist and / or have defined properties. Finding the God particle would help scientists understand how atoms acquire mass.
Will it be the end of the world? Doubtful. Just like the Linear Particle Beam Accelerator at Stanford (which I have seen personally) that smashed atoms and discovered the sub-atomic particles, like quarks, did not end the world, the LHC will not either. Now there will always be the group of people like those who say the planetary alignments could cause a disruption in the gravitational equilibrium of our little part of the universe. Of course if it does not, the perennial doomsayers and those always looking for an apocalypse will have to, and undoubtedly will, find another “END OF THE WORLD” scenario event, cascading series of incidents, or whatever is necessary to continue their “Godly Apoplectic” predictions grasping for a sudden end to it all.