Monday, September 8, 2008

When nerds collide

In two days, on September 10th, you will hear the collective sound of physicists and nerds around the world fapping away to the gentle hum of the large hadron collider being fired up. If you are an old guy over 35 and thus watch the Discovery and Science channels then you are probably aware of this monstrous machine and its implications. To sum up for the young, ignorant or apathetic, the large hadron collider (LHC) is a huge machine that is 17 miles in circumfrence and has lots and lots of magnets. It is designed to accelerate particles at sub light speeds and eventually into each other. The resulting collision is what gets the physics geeks all agog with glee and hard nipples.

Supposedly this mini-big bang will create what is called a Higgs boson. Once we can observe and study the Higgs boson we can then figure out all sorts of questions we've had since Newton got plunked on the head with an apple. Such questions include:

-How do atomic particles aquire mass?
-Why is gravity a weak force?
-Is there a grand unifying theory?
-Are there extra dimensions and can we see them?
-What is the deal with dark matter and energy?
-What does Britney see in Adnan Ghalib anyways?

Personally, I think that all they had to do was come and see me and I'd answer those questions without having to spend so much money:

-Bad carbohydrates like sugars and white flour.
-Trick question- gravity isn't a weak force. After all, ask the sky diver whose parachute didn't open just how weak it is.
-Yes, Barack Obama told me so at the Democratic convention.
-My parents had a friend who saw The 5th Dimension in concert, but he may have been on acid, so who's to say if he's right?
-Love will always overcome the dark side. (see Return of the Jedi)
-It's possible that Adnan has some sort of blackmail over her, I've even heard speculation that he has a sex tape that he's threatened her with.

What truly amazes me is that somehow people were convinced to spend well over 6 billion Euros on this project. To put that in perspective- In today's economy, one Euro is worth about a million dollars. Now, I'm not good at math but I think that makes this one helluva an expensive project! If the physicists want a collision that badly, I'd be perfectly willing to take half that money and drive my car into a wall. I'd even do it naked. Even if they don't want me naked, I'll still get naked because I care that much about science, dammit!

The biggest problem isn't if this big and expensive LHC goes kaput but if it does indeed work and then answers all of our questions. After all, once we have figured out the universe, what else is there left to do? Go home and call it a day? Go up to the Pope and scream, "I told you so!" as you do a little victory dance? Sell the secret of the universe to neighboring galaxies for oil? Go back and correct all the physics mistakes in Star Trek and release them all in a special Blue Ray DVD box set?

Alas, I do have a sinking feeling that just like the TV show Lost, once we have one our big questions answered that we'll be presented with 5 more new ones. I just hope it's not as stupid and there isn't a big frozen donkey wheel involved in all of this.


Lynn Klaus said...

What a disappointment you got me all excited and they fire it up in one direction then wait two weeks, two weeks to do the other direction? Are they actually going to collide a month from now? Or a year? I need to know now what gravity is how am I going to plane my bungy jumping adventure?

Brian said...

If you can't for the collision sweetie then I'll happily oblige you with some bumping and grinding of our own after the kids go to bed. ;)