Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Sep 8, 2008

An idiot guide for understanding The Big Bang Experiment

“When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God’s breath hovering over the waters, God said, ‘Let there be light.’ and there was light” – Genesis (The primeval history)

“The Universe has expanded from a primordial hot and dense initial condition at some finite time in the past and continues to expand to this day.”- The Big Bang Theory

There are two theories with regards to Universe creation:
– The religious one, telling us that God created heaven and earth and then he gave us the light
– The scientific one, telling us that The Big Bang was responsible for Universe creation. According to the big bang theory the known universe once had no dimensions at all—no up or down, no left or right.

Now, do you see the problem?
Religion can’t explain how God was created and won’t even try to do it, because it’s considered heresy. Scientists are trying to demonstrate that there is a tiny something capable of making matter out of energy. This something is the Higgs boson also dubbed as ‘God’s particle’, whose existence is the subject of the Wednesday big bang experiment.

This is what we know so far: molecules are made of atoms; atoms are made of particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons; protons and neutrons (dubbed ‘hadrons’) are made of quarks. The electrons are considered fundamental, meaning that no smaller particles have been identified yet as making an electron. But are quarks considered to be fundamental? Are they made of smaller particles?

Leptons and quarks are the basic building blocks of matter; they are seen as the “elementary particles”. In the present standard model used by physicists, there are six leptons: electron, muon, and tau particles and their associated neutrinos. As well, there are six quarks, which may account for all known mesons and baryons (over 200). The most familiar baryons are the proton and neutron. Quarks are observed to occur only in combinations of two quarks (mesons), three quarks (baryons), and the recently discovered particles with five quarks (pentaquark).
Gluons are the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles. The gluon can be considered to be the fundamental exchange particle underlying the strong interaction between protons and neutrons in a nucleus.

The Higgs particle, it’s supposed to be the key to explaining why matter has mass. And the big bang experiment is supposed to prove its existence. To look for Higgs particle, researchers must smash two beams of hydrogen protons at very high speeds (99.99999% of the speed of light) in a very cold environment, close to absolute zero (-271 degree Celsius). The stream of hydrogen protons are fed into accelerators of increasing size, the last one being the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). From there it will be transferred to the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). The timing between the SPS and the LHC must be accurate to within a fraction of a nanosecond. After the beam is circulating around the machine in a stable fashion, another beam will be sent spinning in opposite direction. The final step will be to boost the energy of each beam to five tera electron volts (Tev). One Tev is equal to a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) electron volts. The first particle collisions are likely to take place within a few weeks. If the energy from that collision is high enough, it is converted into smaller bits of matter — particles — one of which could be a Higgs boson.
Data is going to be processed by the LHC Computing Grid (The Grid). The Grid is a worldwide meta-network of PCs, organized into large clusters and linked by ultra high-speed connections into a global computing service.

This could be one of the experiment’s spinoffs, because it could mark the evolution of the Internet from a communications network into a powerful computation network.

A second spinoff of the big bang experiment is to prove the supersymmetry theory. The supersymmetry theory states that every fundamental particle had a much more massive counterpart in the early universe. The electron might have had a selectron, the muon might have had the smuon and the quark might have had the squark. Many of those supersymmetric partners would have been unstable, but one kind may have been just stable enough to survive since the dawn of time. And those particles might, at this very second, be streaming through your body without interacting with your meat and bones. They might be dark matter.

The big bang experiment is absolutely amazing, no doubt about it. Think of it like the masterpiece of all experiments: creating a mini black hole. But that does not mean it’s safe.

Why do they (CERN) say it’s safe?
– Because the Higgs will only last for a small fraction of a second, and then decay into other particles
– Because the energy produced by the LHC is only a fraction of the cosmic energy that bombards our planet every hour of every day.

Why are we afraid?
-Because we don’t know what’s going to happen with ‘the other particle’. What are they? Would they have enough energy to gain the mass that eventually would destroy the Earth?
– Because the particle beam could drill a hole in just about anything.
– Because there was a minor calamity that happened in March 2007, when a magnet jumped out of its skin during a test. That happening after numerous ‘safety reports’ issued by CERN telling us how stupid we are to be worried about the experiment. Since that incident, 24 magnets have been retroffited to fix a design flaw.
– Because mini black holes grow exponentially rather than linearly inside the earth: “miniquasar principle“Hence the time needed by a resident mini black hole to eat the earth is maximally shortened – perhaps down to “50 months.“ This contrasts with the “50 million years“ obtained assuming linear growth by BBC-Horizon and CERN’s analogous “5 billion years“.
Black holes cannot evaporate because their horizon is effectively infinitely far away in spacetime according to a new theorem in the Schwarzschild metric
– According to Boyle, Alan (March 27, 2008). “Doomsday Fears Spark Lawsuit“. Cosmic Log. msnbc.
“Perhaps cosmic-ray collisions really are creating tiny black holes or strangelets, but those little bits of doomsday zip by too fast to cause any trouble. In the LHC, they say, the bad stuff could hang around long enough to be captured by Earth’s gravity and set off a catastrophe”

We are called ‘fear mongers’ because we don’t want to understand how secure this experiment is. Or is it? According to various declarations made by CERN’s scientists “The Higgs is believed to be related to the mechanism by which the matter particles get their mass, but there is no good theory yet as to why different particles have different masses.”

Hey, at least something will be watching over us. The launch of a Russian Rockot carrier rocket bearing Europe’s first GOCE satellite html has been scheduled for September 10, 2008 as well.
It is designed to provide unique models of the Earth’s gravity field on a global scale and with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution.

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