Posts Tagged ‘CERN’
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 26, 2015
You have to hand it to the end-of-the-world doomsayers: they certainly are persistent. After a long and rich history of always getting it wrong, such as with the much-hyped Mayan Prophecy from December 2012, these seers and prophets just keep coming back for more. Case in point: apparently, this past September 23rd, the world was supposed to end… again. But don’t take it from me, take it straight from the prophets themselves:
And the Internet is full of a whole bunch of other “September 23rd” doomsday sites. I swear every year or two these things pop up like roaches; with the true believers, it’s like a game of perpetual whack-a-mole, because no matter how many times these predictions are wrong (which is EVERY TIME), they just keep coming back for more.
Our skeptical friends over at Skeptoid do a nice take down of this latest doomsday prediction:
Let’s start with what’s being predicted for September 23, 2015 – and for September 2015 in general. According to various conspiracy, prophecy, and prepping websites, the following things will happen on the date itself:
• Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
• President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the White House. Of note is that Francis is the 266th Pope, September 23 is the 266th day of the year, and the average length of human gestation is 266 days.
• The Autumnal Equinox.
• The First day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, also known as “the Feast of the Sacrifice.”
If you add in days either just before or just after 9/23/15, you also get a number of apocalyptic events:
• A range of dates that Comet 67P is scheduled to make an extremely close passage of Earth, September 15-28.
• The September restart of the CERN Large Hadron Collider will open a portal to another dimension.
• The end of Jade Helm 15 on September 15.
• The September 25th launch of a new UN initiative, Agenda 2030, which signals the end stage of Agenda 21 implementation.
• The date of the last of the “Four Blood Moons” heralding the End Times, on September 28.
• The approximate date of predicted economic collapse.
• The end of a Shemitah year in the Jewish Calendar, the last year of the seven year agricultural cycle, that traditionally brings with it great tribulation.
All of these events have been prophesied to form a combination that will bring on the End Times. What are the sources of these predictions?
• The obvious confluence of the three major world religions on September 23.
• Biblical prophecy, specifically the “Four Blood Moons” prophecy.
• The End Times prophecy of Sir Isaac Newton.
• A dire warning from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who claimed on May 13, 2014 that we have “500 days to avoid climate chaos.” 500 days after May 13, 2014 is September 24, 2015.
• Prophetic dreams and visions by people attuned to such things.
• Predictive programming in Hollywood entertainment – specifically, many uses of the numbers “9” and “23” in films and TV.
Hmm, that’s quite a lot of scary End Times stuff, isn’t it? Except that the End didn’t come. But that won’t stop the apocalyptic fanatics from continuing to make their doomsday predictions; indeed, a quick Google search for “the coming apocalypse” will yield a mountain of Internet fodder to feed all the Bible-thumping, paranoia-inducing, hide-in-your-basement, conspiracy-mongering that you could ever want regarding future end-of-the-world predictions.
Here’s a prediction that you can take to the bank: the next apocalyptic prediction will pan out like all the previous ones… it will be dead, flat wrong.
Posted in doomsday | Tagged: 2012, 2015, alignment, apocalypse, armaggedon, autumnal equinox, baktun, Blood Moon, calendar, CERN, cosmic, Dec 21, December 21, doomsday, Eid al-Adha, end of the world, end times, equinox, judgment day, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, Maya, Mayan, New Age, Nibru, planetary, planets, prophecy, prophets, Sept 23, September 23, Yom Kippur | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 22, 2012
While at Dragon*Con 2012, I gave an incredibly well-attended lecture (standing room only!) on the recent “discovery”(?) of the Higgs boson and our modern theories of particle physics (known as the Standard Model). The lecture was followed by a very fruitful Q&A session which was made all the more interesting because attending the lecture was an engineer who actually works on a detector at the Large Hadron Collider and a theoretical particle physicist!
I recorded the audio of the lecture in order to share it, and I have embedded that audio into the PowerPoint file I used for my lecture. Enjoy! 🙂
Posted in philosophy, scientific method, skeptical community | Tagged: 2012, antimatter, atom, atom smasher, black hole, boson, CERN, collider, con, DC, Discovery, Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, energy, field, God, God particle, hadron, Higgs boson, humor, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, mass, Matt Lowry, matter, molecule, nature, particle, particle accelerator, philosophy, physics, protons, religion, science, science track, scientific method, sigma, skeptic, skepticism, Standard Model, statistics, TeV, theology | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 20, 2012
In the ongoing story of the supposedly “faster-than-light” neutrinos discovered last year, there is another big mark against this claim being the real thing: the failure to replicate the phenomenon in an independent experiment. As I stated then, most especially when dealing with an extraordinary claim such as this, one cannot begin to draw any conclusions until there have been separate, independent attempts to verify and replicate the results. Until then, we should suspend judgment and remain skeptical of extraordinary claims.
Well, more of that judgment is now in… in a recent BBC News article, it is reported that a team (called Icarus) independent from the original research team (called Opera) from the same facility, Gran Sasso, in Italy failed to find the apparent “faster-than-light” signal which caused such an uproar last September:
An experiment to repeat a test of the speed of subatomic particles known as neutrinos has found that they do not travel faster than light.
Results announced in September suggested that neutrinos can exceed light speed, but were met with scepticism as that would upend Einstein’s theory of relativity.
A test run by a different group at the same laboratory has now clocked them travelling at precisely light speed.
The results have been posted online.
The results in September, from the Opera group at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy, shocked the world, threatening to upend a century of physics as well as relativity – which holds the speed of light to be the Universe’s absolute speed limit.
Now the Icarus group, based at the same laboratory, has weighed in again, having already cast some doubt on the original Opera claim. …
This is an excellent example of how real science, especially cutting-edge science, progresses. Claims are not taken at face value; they are always open to criticism and are not necessarily accepted (especially if they go against well-established theories such as Einstein’s relativity) without good, strong, repeatable evidence.
In short, as Carl Sagan stated: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
And the evidence in support of the claims of “faster-than-light” neutrinos seems to be getting less extraordinary every day.
Posted in physics denial/woo, scientific method | Tagged: 3x10^8 m/s, c, CERN, confirmation, Einstein, extraordinary claims, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, extraordinary evidence, faster than light, FTL, general relativity, Gran Sasso, Icarus, Italy, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, lightspeed, neutrino, OPERA, oscialltion, paradigm shift, particle, particle physics, physics, relativity, reproducibility, science, skeptical, special relativity, speed of light, superluminal, supernova, Supernova 1987A, tachyons, theory, theory of relativity, warp drive | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 11, 2012
Okay, I was just browsing online a bit, and I came across this funny little gem. Yeah, I had to share it, because it makes a really good point about the difference between science and pseudoscience/religion…
by Nadir on March 9, 2012 at 8:14 am
A lifetime ago by internet reckoning and two weeks ago via calendar, news came of the faulty cable/GPS-sync connection as a possible reason for the Faster-Than-Light Neutrino scandal of late 2011. This is not yet completely confirmed but I won’t say I’m not going to be disappointed if this is verified as the cause, though it seems likely. It’s anticlimactic. Not that anyone actually expected FTL travel here, I was at least hoping for a more interesting explanation for the error. The 60 nanosecond fast data is apparently explicable as a result of a bad connection between the GPS receiver and an electronic card in the computer.Yawn.
Now, in fairness, no one involved ever claimed FTL travel, only that they got that result. And they kept trying to disprove it. So what I’m saying is if you got overexcited and invested in fraudulent companies such as ‘the Neutrino-Warp-Drive Enterprise” you only have yourself to blame.*
One thing however, did come out of all this that shined a recent if not really new, light on a fundamental difference between science and religion. Many scientists were sought for comment and every one I saw or read, despite being pretty skeptical and awaiting further data, never completely rejected the idea out of hand. Solid, time tested ideas exist in science, and dagnabbit the universal-speed-limit is one of ‘em; but there are still no sacred cows or prophets. Knocking down or modifying a theory (or just trying to) only serves to strengthen the endeavor for truth, and never weakens it. This is the opposite of how religions operate, and anyone trying to make science and religion comparable, as seen in arguments time and again, has to deal with this massive cleavage.
Posted in humor, physics denial/woo, religion, scientific method | Tagged: blog, CERN, comic, Einstein, faster than light, FTL, funny, humor, internet, neutrinos, NewTrinos, pseudoscience, relativity, religion, Sci-ence, science, Web | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 23, 2012
**Update (2-25-12): It seems the situation is a bit more complicated than previously thought, and there is another potential source of error that has been discovered. More details at this CERN link: http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2011/PR19.11E.html
Last September you may recall quite a bit of buzz going around about the supposed discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos. While the media was going nuts about it, and while various cranks were crowing about “the physics establishment being overturned”, a number of scientists and science bloggers (including me) expressed great interest in this experimental result while also providing a cautious dose of skepticism about the entire affair. That’s because a theory that is so well-tested as Einstein’s relativity could be overturned or radically adjusted by such a result only if we were absolutely sure of the outcome; and, at the time, not even the scientists who announced the FTL result were very sure of it…
This tended to be the general view among physicists about the apparent “faster-than-light” neutrinos 🙂
Well, it seems our skepticism was well-founded. From a recent post on the Science Insider blog, it looks as if the “faster-than-light” neutrino signal (which amounted to a discrepancy of 60 nanoseconds or 0.000 000 060 seconds) was probably the result of a bad cable connection…
It appears that the faster-than-light neutrino results, announced last September by the OPERA collaboration in Italy, was due to a mistake after all. A bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame.
Physicists had detected neutrinos travelling from the CERN laboratory in Geneva to the Gran Sasso laboratory near L’Aquila that appeared to make the trip in about 60 nanoseconds less than light speed. Many other physicists suspected that the result was due to some kind of error, given that it seems at odds with Einstein’s special theory of relativity, which says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That theory has been vindicated by many experiments over the decades.
According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos’ flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis. [emphasis added]
If true (and my money is on it being true), it wouldn’t surprise me at all. When I was an undergraduate doing research work in a mass spectrometry lab, it took me and my lab mate a couple of days to figure out why the damn thing wasn’t working properly. After almost two days of checking everything (every setting, every seal on the chamber, every line of code), what was the error?
Answer: a bad BNC cable *facepalm*
And I was just working on a lousy table-top sized mass spectrometer. I can barely imagine the level of complexity in dealing with an experiment of the scale of the CERN-OPERA operation; the fact that they could have missed a lone, loose fiber optic cable doesn’t surprise me at all.
While I’m pretty certain that this error (or similar ones) will explain the situation, I still think it is worthy for some outside research group to attempt a replication of the original, apparent FTL neutrino result. I say that because it could be worth really nailing down exactly what went wrong in this whole experiment so that other researchers don’t make similar mistakes in the future. Of course, there is the outside chance (however infinitely remote that may be) that perhaps there is something legitimate to the FTL result.
Either way, science marches on and we learn something about the universe. Neat, eh? 🙂
Posted in physics denial/woo, scientific method | Tagged: 3x10^8 m/s, bad cable, c, cable, CERN, confirmation, Einstein, error, faster than light, fiber optics, FTL, general relativity, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, lightspeed, loose cable, mistake, neutrino, OPERA, oscialltion, paradigm shift, particle, particle physics, physics, relativity, reproducibility, science, Science Insider, skeptical, special relativity, speed of light, superluminal, supernova, Supernova 1987A, tachyons, theory, theory of relativity, warp drive | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 14, 2011
You may have heard the recent news that physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider may be narrowing their search for the Higgs Boson. Here’s an update from The Guardian…
A graphic showing traces of collision of particles at Cern. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Scientists believe they may have caught their first glimpse of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that is thought to underpin the subatomic workings of nature.
Physicists Fabiola Gianotti and Guido Tonelli were applauded by hundreds of scientists yesterday as they revealed evidence for the particle amid the debris of hundreds of trillions of proton collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva. …
Let me just put a few things into perspective here on this potential (and I stress potential) discovery. First, the data are rather preliminary, and in order to say for sure that there is solid evidence for the Higgs Boson, there need to be more observations to help shore up the statistical analysis. In particle physics, it is not uncommon to see the occasional “discovery” that eventually ends up being merely a statistical anomaly, so more data is better to weed out the anomalies. This section of The Guardian article helps to clarify this point:
… Particle physicists use a “sigma” scale to grade the significance of results, from one to five. One and two sigma results are unreliable because they come and go with statistical fluctuations in the data. A three sigma result counts as an “observation”, while a five sigma result is enough to claim an official discovery. There is less than a one in a million chance of a five sigma result being a statistical fluke.
Gianotti and Tonelli led two separate teams – one using Cern’s Atlas detector, the other using the laboratory’s Compact Muon Solenoid. At their seminar yesterday one team reported a 2.3 sigma bump in their data that could be a Higgs boson weighing 126GeV, while the other reported a 1.9 sigma Higgs signal at a mass of around 124GeV. There is a 1% chance that the Atlas result could be due to a random fluctuation in the data. …
So, by these data, while the 2.3 and 1.9 sigma signals are interesting, they don’t really rise to the level of a solid observation (which, recall, is set at a standard of 3.0 sigma), much less an official discovery.
Also, by “narrowed the search” for the Higgs Boson, what the CERN physicists mean is that they may have narrowed down the energy range in which the Higgs Boson might exist. So, long story short, while these results are of interest, don’t go popping those champagne corks just yet 🙂
The “God Particle”?
I don’t know about you, but I get kind of annoyed at all of this labeling of the hypothetical Higgs Boson as the “God Particle”. I see it as the kind of mushing of religion into science that leads to all manner of philosophically-challenged kind of muddy thinking. First off, depending upon how one defines God (assuming the standard monotheistic version of the Abrahamic god), which is usually defined as a supernatural being, you run into trouble by trying to find natural evidence for a thing which is supposed to be beyond nature.
Second, even if we did discover the Higgs Boson, what would that supposedly tell us about this God? Presumably various armchair theologians argue that such a discovery would be evidence for their view of God (which also begs the question of whether or not it is evidence for one God versus another God). The logic here simply escapes me, and it smacks of the usual “everything is evidence for God” kind of argumentation that passes the lips of too many religious people. And this also brings up a potentially sticky question for the advocates of the “God Particle” label…
What if the Higgs Boson isn’t discovered, despite years of detailed searching? Will these same armchair theologians suddenly give up their belief in their God because the supposed “Particle” which is his/her/its/their fingerprint upon the cosmos was never there to begin with? Somehow I don’t think so, because these believers will merely rationalize away the lack of evidence for the “God Particle”. It is in this sense that I find some people who try to stick the round peg of religion into the square hole of science to be particularly annoying: they want to use science as a method of “proving” their religious beliefs when they think it will work for them, yet they completely dismiss science when it works against them. It’s simply “heads I win, tails you lose” argumentation, and it is both intellectually lazy and disingenuous.
What if we don’t find the Higgs Boson? Science will march on…
This is the thing I really like about science: it never ends. The process of scientific investigation never ceases to ask questions, formulate ideas, and test out those ideas. I think it is entirely possible that in the search for the Higgs Boson, it will never be found; and what then? What if we never find it? Well, that’s when I think things will get really interesting, because that means that much of what we think we know about the Standard Model of physics could very well be wrong. And that would mean that we need to start looking at things differently; this is, to me, the antithesis of dogmatic thinking, and it shows how science is, collectively, the best mechanism we have for stimulating open and free inquiry of the world around us.
Now don’t get me wrong – I would be quite excited if the Higgs Boson were discovered. But I think I would be much more excited if it weren’t found. That would certainly open up a lot more questions, wouldn’t it?
To science! May it march ever onward…
Posted in philosophy, scientific method | Tagged: analysis, antimatter, atheism, atheist, atom, atom smasher, black hole, boson, CERN, collider, Discovery, energy, field, God, God particle, hadron, Higgs boson, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, mass, matter, molecule, nature, particle, particle accelerator, philosophy, physics, protons, religion, science, scientific method, sigma, Standard Model, statistics, TeV, theology | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 25, 2011
Regarding my previous blog post on the supposed discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos at CERN, I just wanted to share this humorous bit from the web-comic XKCD which sums it all up quite nicely. Enjoy! 😀
Posted in humor, physics denial/woo | Tagged: 3x10^8 m/s, c, CERN, confirmation, Einstein, faster than light, FTL, funny, general relativity, humor, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, lightspeed, neutrino, OPERA, oscialltion, paradigm shift, particle, particle physics, physics, relativity, reproducibility, science, skeptical, special relativity, speed of light, superluminal, supernova, Supernova 1987A, tachyons, theory, theory of relativity, warp drive, Web, xkcd, xkcd.com | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 23, 2011
[**Update: If you are looking for the actual research paper on the CERN-OPERA experiment and related “FTL” result, click here.]
[**Update (9-24-11): Here is an interesting critique of the statistical analysis used by the CERN-OPERA team which seems to cast considerable doubt on their FTL claims.]
[**Update (9-25-11): It seems the criticism above was flawed, and the author has retracted his criticism. See the same link for the retraction.]
Okay, so there is a huge amount of buzz on the Interwebs concerning a potentially paradigm-shifting discovery at the CERN physics laboratory in Europe: faster-than-light (FTL) travel. However, before we start to engage the warp drive engines and get too terribly excited, let’s – pardon the pun – slow things down a bit and look a bit more deeply at the claims. The specific claims are outlined at this NPR report:
Scientists at the world’s largest physics lab said Thursday they have clocked neutrinos traveling faster than light. That’s something that according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity — the famous E (equals) mc2 equation — just doesn’t happen.
The particles in question are called neutrinos. These particles are most often generated in the cores of stars as part of the process of nuclear fusion, though they can be generated in other particle interactions. Some of the most interesting things about neutrinos is that they are extremely low mass, and they have no charge. As a result, they don’t really interact with matter and are thus very difficult to detect (though we have methods for doing just that). The other really interesting thing about neutrinos is that they undergo what is called oscillation – which means that as they travel through space they are able to morph from one kind of neutrino to another. These three varieties of neutrino are called tau, electron, and muon neutrinos.
This is important to understand given the context of the experiment which has supposedly yielded the FTL result. Here are the details about the experiment and its results (from the aforementioned NPR article):
CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab [called OPERA] 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant. But given the enormous implications of the find, they still spent months checking and rechecking their results to make sure there was no flaws in the experiment.
Now the physics community is understandably skeptical of these results, as it should be. Einstein’s theory of relativity is a very solid theory, and – as far as I know – there hasn’t every been an experimental result shown which has violated this theory. And here we have an experimental result which claims that one of relativity’s fundamental postulates – that the speed of light is invariant (i.e. always the same in all frames of reference) – is potentially wrong. From this point, I see that there are two possibilities:
1. There is some kind of flaw in the design and/or implementation of the CERN-OPERA experiment which the researchers have overlooked. It is also possible they have some kind of error in their calculations which accounts for the apparent FTL result.
2. There is no experimental/calculation error on the part of the research team, and this result is found to be repeatable by other research groups.
Personally, I am more inclined to #1 at this point, for multiple reasons. First, as I mentioned above, Einstein’s relativity theory is such a fundamental basis for modern physics, and it has stood up to such rigorous scrutiny over the 20th century and beyond, that it would take much more than this one anomalous experimental result to cause me to seriously question it. In addition, there are some real, solid reasons to be skeptical of these results, as they do not appear to be consistent with other observations. Specifically, these results do not seem to be in line with observations we have made of supernova explosions.
Recall that I mentioned above that most neutrinos are generated within stars during nuclear fusion. Well, when a particularly massive star “dies”, it basically blows up in an explosion we call a supernova. These explosions are very powerful, and they give off a huge amount of energy in the form of light; but they also give off a huge amount of neutrinos as well. And, as far as we know, these neutrinos are supposed to travel at the speed of light. And there’s the rub: what we observed with Supernova 1987A (which was observed by astronomers in 1987 all over the world in real time) is not at all consistent with the findings of the CERN-OPERA group, because if these FTL results are to be believed then the neutrinos blasted out of Supernova 1987A should have been observed somewhere around 3 to 4 YEARS before the light from the explosion. And that didn’t happen… we observed the light from Supernova 1987A and related neutrino blast at essentially the same time. These observations of Supernova 1987A are completely at odds with the apparent results of the CERN-OPERA experiments, and until there is a really solid reconciliation of these two sets of data, I am inclined to call the FTL result a fluke.
Supernova 1987A: Image courtesy of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory
**Note: For a more detailed analysis of this issue of the Supernova 1987A data, I highly suggest reading this entry at A User’s Guide to the Universe as well as the latest article over at the Bad Astronomy blog.
Now don’t get me wrong… I am not willing to completely shut the door on the CERN-OPERA results just yet. This could (note the emphasis on “could”) end up being a truly revolutionary moment in the history of physics, but in order to establish that the FTL result is real we need to do a lot of confirmation. This means checking and rechecking every possible aspect of the experiment and calculations done by the research group, and then attempts to replicate the results of the experiment at other institutions. I am happy to say that there are already lots of physics research groups (some just down the road from me at FermiLab) who are lining up to try reproducing these FTL results. It has been stated by some physicists that perhaps there is some previously unknown physical process involved with neutrino oscillation which could explain these anomalous results, so this is also an area which researchers want to look.
And there’s where things could get really interesting, and where I might start to jump up and down as giddy as a school-girl. If it ends up that these FTL results are the real deal, then I for one would be extremely excited! Just imagine what that could mean for the future of science… wow.
So, while I am (like much of the physics community) very skeptical of the faster-than-light claims and think that option #1 is most likely, I would be happy to be proven wrong and go with option #2. But before that happens, we have to go through the really hard, pain-staking, and arduous process called science. While we might want FTL to be a reality, it still remains to be seen whether or not it is the real thing. Remember, wanting something doesn’t make it true.
So, for now let’s just stay tuned and see what happens…
Posted in physics denial/woo | Tagged: 3x10^8 m/s, c, CERN, confirmation, Einstein, faster than light, FTL, general relativity, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, lightspeed, neutrino, OPERA, oscialltion, paradigm shift, particle, particle physics, physics, relativity, reproducibility, science, skeptical, special relativity, speed of light, superluminal, supernova, Supernova 1987A, tachyons, theory, theory of relativity, warp drive | 13 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 3, 2010
Often people remark that science and philosophy deal with two different sets of questions. I’ve heard many times that philosophy (or religion & theology) deal with the “why” questions whereas science deals more with the nuts-and-bolts kind of “how” questions. But then you run into some questions which are kind of in the middle – and this is the region where philosophers of science focus much effort & ink discussing what they call the demarcation problem
: where does science end & philosophy begin?
Let me give you an example of just such a fuzzy question, one which has been asked repeatedly down through the ages: why is there something rather than nothing? Specifically, why is the universe (and us) here at all? Why does it all exist?
Now, up until recently, many people would have looked at such a question as being beyond the realm of science, more appropriately categorized as one of philosophy, theology, or religion. However, as science has advanced, our understanding of very fundamental physics related to the big bang
is providing us clues as to the answer. A little background first…
You see, recently there was a series of experiments conducted at the particle accelerator
called the Tevatron at FermiLab
just down the road from me in Batavia, IL (here’s a Chicago Tribune article on the experiments
). Specifically, what the physicists were attempting to do was to try to replicate the conditions of the early universe smashing counter-rotating beams of protons and anti-protons
together at incredibly high energies (on the order of 1 TeV). For those who don’t know, an anti-proton is the antimatter
version of a proton – you see, the folks at FermiLab have an antimatter generation and storage facility. Yeah, antimatter as in Star Trek
Posted in philosophy, physics denial/woo, religion, scientific method | Tagged: antimatter, Big Bang, big bang machine, CERN, Cosmos, demarcation problem, FermiLab, God, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, matter, origin, particle accelerator, philosophy, physics, religion, science, Tevatron, theology, universe | 11 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 31, 2010
In honor of the recent news of the Large Hadron Collider’s successful run-up to 7.0 TeV collisions and the upcoming Easter weekend, I figure that I’d pass along a humorous little bit that I just stumbled upon. Enjoy!
Hint: the joke is that laymen often state that the LHC is searching for the Higg’s Boson, a.k.a. the “God Particle” 😉
Happy scientists exchanged water for wine
‘It’s not quite the God particle we’ve been looking for, ’said Professor Mann, head of the Atlas Project at CERN, ‘but it’s a miracle nonetheless.’
The particle arose from a collision between a J and an M particle in a way which no one thought possible, and the bright light created sucked in three K particles from the East. Although it only existed for a fraction of a second, scientists are adamant that the Son of God particle will re-appear by Sunday.
‘Make no mistake there’ll be lots written about this and it will become the standard textbook for how we do things in future,’ said Professor Mann. ‘I’ve no doubt it will lead to peace, harmony and wisdom among all men with sandals, beards and tank-tops.’
Excitement at the news was heightened when it was revealed that, on the same day, a technician in the CERN canteen opened a marmite sandwich to discover a perfect image of esteemed physicist Professor Peter Higgs.
Posted in humor | Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, Big Bang, black hole, CERN, Christ, conspiracy, cosmic rays, cyclotron, doomsday, Easter, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, God, God particle, Higgs boson, humor, Jesus, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, Son of God, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 2 Comments »