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LHC at CERN : what does it mean?

Poster: Hank @ Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:24 am

The LHC experiment is suddenly getting a lot of press, which is good if a shade late. People don't seem to grasp, though, that this experiment will potentially produce the biggest breakthrough in experimental (aka 'real') physics in more than half a century.

The initial salvo seems to have fired off well; with luck, m0nster will provide detail about it after he cleans off the radioactive lepton residue or whatever from his mini-'fro.

Sit back and think it through, fatties : this may be the year you find out why you have so much dang mass.

Comments: 6  •  Post Comment  •  Share Share Top
Daniel Roe Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:44 am
well they're not colliding anything for like a month, they just turned it on

also, I read about the higgs bosson on wikipedia... sounded like a bunch of nerd talk and jibber jabber.

Even if it is real, the implications are really limited to a small variable in a huge equation which, ultimately, proves nothing outside of academia.

Yeah, great, a particle responsible for mass... does that bring us any closer to anti-gravity moon-shoes? neg.
Hank Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:29 am
You fool

Don't you realize that if one could regulate shoe mass by manipulating Higgs boson behavior, it'd be bouncy bouncy time?
Daniel Roe Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:18 pm
Just because we find the existence of a thing doesn't mean we can manipulate it. It's going to be like neutrinos or something: "OH SWEET! WE HAVE NEUTRINOS EVERYYYYWHERRRREE!!... Is there any grant money left for me to get a taco? This weed's giving me the munchies"

Yeah, great, another particle in our arsenal to keep science to the scientists--further complicating the actual nature of things on the smallest levels. "well, you have all these different uber-tiny dots that interact in ways that are impossible to visualize because they border on insanity... that's reality, son"

It's not like you can make a pair of tweezers small enough to move these things around. It takes really expensive and huge equipment just to create a situation where they can be detected.

It took like 10-20 years to build the LHC and that's just to prove the existence of the higgs bosson. At a minimum, that puts us 100 years away from actually finding any practical use for that information, and even then it'll probably just lead to slightly more efficient toasters or a nose-hair trimmer that actually works.

Of course I recognize the importance of this research. We need to keep figuring these things out so we can verify that reality is really real. However, that's more of a philosophical thing than anything else, like my decision to go without underpants this week.
Hank Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:36 pm
Knaveadelic -- in some circles, the work done to discover the fundamental workings of reality is known as 'science,' whereas your sartorial decisions fall closer to what most folks call 'fantasy.'

The LHC has the potential to do a lot more (moar) than find the Higgs boson -- that's just what the m0nster's particular experiment, the Compact Muon Solenoid, is most uniquely equipped to do. There are three other major experiments at the collider that have very profound possibilities as well.

Th' Higgs isn't just 'another particle' for the 'arsenal' [emphasis on 'arse'] -- it's the only particle in Murray Gell-Mann's Standard Model which hasn't been experimentally verified. If it can be detected, that will mean that Gell-Mann's math is basically sound, and point us in a confidently correct direction for future experiment -- and theory. Most luridly, it'll put some real heat on the string theorists, who have abasic disagreement with Gell-Mann on the limits of particle size.

P.S. don't take my space shoe postulate literally -- if you were really able to scare the Higgs bosons away from your boots, something interesting would probably happen, such as your boots disintegrating and all their constituent particles becoming photons travelling at the speed of light, but you wouldn't be in bounce city.

What's with the jaded cynicism today? Did you get busted for obvious groping in OMM class and assigned ten demerits, or did your Blake painting collection just lose a constituent?

Daniel Roe Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:46 pm
my painting did taste like chocolate... oh, now I am alone
Hank Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:48 pm
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