Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weird Science: Atom Smasher (remember what happened in Spiderman 2?)

When I read this article about the "most powerful atom-smasher ever built" all I could think about was the Spiderman 2 movie when Doc Oc's experiment goes haywire sucking everyone & everything into the machine - including pulling cars towards it and killing his lovely wife/assistant. So comic books are not hard science, especially when made into blockbuster films...but check out the mind blowing, bizarre implications of this multi billion dollar collider machine :
"Some critics fear the Large Hadron Collider could exceed physicists' wildest conjectures: Will it spawn a black hole that could swallow Earth? Or spit out particles that could turn the planet into a hot dead clump? ...
The machine, which has been called the largest scientific experiment in history, isn't expected to begin test runs until August, and ramping up to full power could take months. But once it is working, it is expected to produce some startling findings.
Scientists plan to hunt for signs of the invisible "dark matter" and "dark energy" that make up more than 96 percent of the universe, and hope to glimpse the elusive Higgs boson, a so-far undiscovered particle thought to give matter its mass.
The collider could find evidence of extra dimensions, a boon for superstring theory, which holds that quarks, the particles that make up atoms, are infinitesimal vibrating strings.
The theory could resolve many of physics' unanswered questions, but requires about 10 dimensions — far more than the three spatial dimensions our senses experience....
When the LHC is finally at full power, two beams of protons will race around the huge ring 11,000 times a second in opposite directions. They will travel in two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space.
Their trajectory will be curved by supercooled magnets — to guide the beams around the rings and prevent the packets of protons from cutting through the surrounding magnets like a blowtorch.
The paths of these beams will cross, and a few of the protons in them will collide, at a series of cylindrical detectors along the ring. The two largest detectors are essentially huge digital cameras, each weighing thousands of tons, capable of taking millions of snapshots a second...
Critics like Wagner have said the collisions caused by accelerators could be more hazardous than those of cosmic rays.
Both may produce micro black holes, subatomic versions of cosmic black holes — collapsed stars whose gravity fields are so powerful that they can suck in planets and other stars.
But micro black holes produced by cosmic ray collisions would likely be traveling so fast they would pass harmlessly through the earth. "
Whoa! The reason I put the word "likely" in bold print is because , geez, well... that's not very 100% on some seriously experimental stuff! I mean a black hole is nothing to dismiss being that it can suck in entire planets and then what? You know before Doc Oc became the freak monster he did, he was a renown scientist who truly believed in his theories - my biggest theory is we never have the whole picture and are always working from partial information. It will be cool though, when they find other dimensions! :)

Photo: Associated Press

1 comment:

Scientifnick said...

Yeah delving into areas of science that could become beyond our control is pretty freaking scary. It's hard to imagine they would be allowed to carry out an experiment of this magnitude. It is interesting and all the discoveries that could be made but I'm a little confused as to how these discoveries could even be of help to us other than satisfying our curiosity.