Monday, September 15, 2008

Hadron Collider: Not The Start Of The End Of The World

On Sept. 10, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, switched on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — a $6 billion particle accelerator that sent beams of protons in a hope to find God’s Particle.
A 16 year old girl killed herself after being traumatized by media reports, in the east people performed pooja’s in temples while others savored their favorite food in anticipation of world’s end .In a deeply religious and superstitious nation fears of the experiment and the minor risk associated with it spread rapidly through the reckless, uneducated TRP hungry media. What took more than 2 decades to build and was meant to answer humanity’s puzzling question? How the universe began.
Not even an educated lot was left behind to really try and understand what the experiment is all about and what the benefits of such a research on mankind are. One need not be a scientist or a science background to make sense of what CERN is trying to achieve, we all studied physics in our schools to know what an atom and its sub atomic particles like electrons, neutrons and protons.
So let me explain what the experiment is all about and why we should appreciate the effort than to fear from the risks. Even our nation has contributed a lot to this experiment.
BIG BANG
A broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. The theory says that the observable universe started roughly 13.7 Billion years ago from an extremely dense and incredibly hot initial state. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.
Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know. After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown.
Common Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang theory. For example, we tend to imagine a giant explosion. Experts however say that there was no explosion; there was (and continues to be) an expansion. Rather than imagining a balloon popping and releasing its contents, imagine a balloon expanding: an infinitesimally small balloon expanding to the size of our current universe. The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don't know. We don't know where it came from, why it's here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn't exist and neither did we.
What about God?
Any discussion of the Big Bang theory would be incomplete without asking the question, what about God? This is because cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe) is an area where science and theology meet. Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. This fact begs the question: is there anything else which exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? We know that this universe had a beginning. Was God the "First Cause"? I won't attempt to answer that question in this blog. We just ask the question:
Here comes Hydron Collider…..
To understand what happened at that fraction of second during the BIG BANG what was that singularity that existed to create such a bang .In the last 2 hundred years we know that atoms has sub-atomic particle like protons, but the theory proposed by Higgs Boson predicted a particle which makes up porton’s the particle popularised name is ‘GOD’s Particle’
None of them have seen nor able to validate the existence of this particle experimentally despite large efforts. It’s believed just before the BIG BANG these particles were freely available before they were fused in proton.
The collider hence aims to find these GOD’s Particle by smashing protons at high speeds so as to unlock the particle if at all they exist if we don’t find then we might find something else which can re-write our physics books once more.
Why not to fear…
Event’s like proton smashing has been occurring naturally on our earth and that too thousands of time more powerful that what is been attempted by collider they happen so fast that we cannot even capture that event. In order to capture and understand they built collider to carry out experiments under controlled conditions, and that too a fraction of what is already happening in the nature.
Fear of Black Hole eating our planet
The experiment does create a Black Hole but the lifecycle is so small that it’s gone even before it’s created ,the max risk even if proton collision goes out of hand the blast will bury the collider already 100mrts below the earth.
Black hole is a long story which I can’t cover in this article..:-)
Benefits/Spin off’s from research
Its believed that if we are successful with finding Dark Matter(GOD’s Particle) or any think equivalent to that even a tiny micro gram of extracted particles will be sufficient to solve the entire earth’s energy requirements for the next 1000 years besides it will be a clean energy that’s why we need to these experiments
It will also benefit Cancer therapy(ability to deliver radiation dose only to cancer cells leaving the healthy ones unharmed), incineration of nuclear waste(no need to bury them in deep earth), power generation, Streilization, medical imaging, WWW, multifilamentary wires and cable, parallel computing, cryogeneics, non-destructive testing etc.
GOD’s Particle proposer
‘Higgs Bosons Theory ‘ who proposed about ‘GOD’s Particle’ in this Boson’s theory is actually put forth by ‘Satyendra Nath Bose’ you got it an ‘INDIAN’ at least it would have been a proudest moment had our ‘MEDIA’ highlighted this connection instead of giving false information of end of world
Lets the big bang begin…
The real experiment is yet to start, what happened on 10th was a proton travelling clockwise the entire length of collider that’s a good 27 kms, the next step would be to fire a proton in anticlockwise direction once scientists are sure that protons can travel through the tunnel in both directions for the entire length then the real bang begins by firing protons in both directions so as to collide them. That’s still a year away and thank god by then media would have lost interest in tracking the event and no more reckless reporting will happen. Only pure science enthusiasts will track the progress through their official website (http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/).