Snow day

Snowed in today so maybe I should do something somewhat productive. Why not update the good ole Senior Exit Project blog?

So far, I’ve decided to do my Senior Exit Project on CERN’s gigantic particle accelerator, also known as the LHC (large hadron collider). Turns out, my brother’s friend’s roommate interned at CERN last summer. My brother also told me  he can possibly get an interview which would completely validate my project. Here’s a picture of this intern at another day of work:

Although that isn’t the LHC located under Switzerland and France, it’s one of the many experiments conducted by CERN.

CERN has planned to start up the LHC again on February 15th, 2010 after many failed previous attempts. In September of 2008 the LHC had to be shut down after a few days because of major repairs needing to be done. The following year in November, the LHC was shut down due to the upcoming winter, but scientists recorded the highest collisions ever produced by humans. On February 15th, scientists want the LHC to run at full power, meaning near (99.9%) the speed of light in the year 2011. If CERN is able to reach the speed of light, time will actually stop. As the LHC nears the speed of light, time will significantly slow down.

[Source: The Christian Science Monitor]

Many critics believe this restarting of the LHC will cause great harm to the world, even resulting in a black hole. CERN believes that such a situation is very unlikely, but will not testify that it is impossible. Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho have concluded the LHC could not only produce a black hole, but a “strangelet,” which would change Earth into a “shrunken dense dead lump of something called ‘strange matter.’” They also are pinning down CERN for disobeying the National Environmental Policy Act by not providing an environmental impact statement.

What does all this mean? Basically, CERN is either fighting propaganda created by the scared population, or creating the propaganda just to progress science, even at the risk of the planet. So far, no harm has been done by the LHC (aside from needing $8 billion for it’s construction/repairs), but CERN has barely scratched the surface with the massive machine and there is still expansive room for error.

[Source: the New York Times]

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7 Comments

Filed under black hole, CERN, LHC, Senior Exit Project, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Snow day

  1. How would time stop if the speed of light is reached? Also, I found somewhere on the internet that small black holes could be created by the LHC although there would not be enough energy to sustain them. It said they would disappear (word choice?) almost instantaneously.

    • Thanks, Josh, for the comment! I decided to clear that up in my next blog entry so hopefully all my readers will understand better. I will look into the black hole not having enough energy, that’s an interesting aspect to the danger of a black hole on Earth.

  2. macoffeegrounds

    This all just sounds like a terrible idea. But I remain hopeful that as they are rocket scientists and I am not that they have a better sense than I of what will and will not happen.

  3. macoffeegrounds

    A direction you might go should your work dry up: just because we can do something, does it mean we should?

    • Mr. Coffee, I almost feel like I have way too many directions to go in and don’t know which I should focus on. The machine itself, what it is supposed to accomplish, the black hole theories, and whether or not we should do it. Should I try to incorporate all of them into my project, or reign in only one main idea?

  4. macoffeegrounds

    What’s the history of it? What IS it supposed to accomplish? And should we do it just because we can? What might come from it? Were it not for the weaponizing of the atom, where would we be in terms of our understanding of the universe? Were the earliest attempts in an underground, abandoned squash court at the University of Chicago a good idea? It’s easy to build this.

    • I meant I feel that I have too many questions I am able to address and I’m not exactly sure which one I should focus on the most for the project. Or should I possibly try to address all or the majority of them? I’m not sure how broad or specific the Senior Exit Project wants me to get I suppose. Thank you for all those ideas and I will include the answers in my next post(s). I needed new ideas from an outside source so this will help a lot.

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