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]