Thursday, July 13, 2006

7/13/06 Super Collider

(WARNING: Nerd-o post alert! Please disregard if you're looking for something fun and entertaining.)

Most books on theoretical physics that I read usually leave off saying that experimental evidence will be provided once the CERN (roughly translated: Council of European Research Nuclear) Large Hadron Collider is complete and functional in 2007. Which is basically admitting the theoretical physics is so far beyond experimental physics, that they're all just guessing at this point. And they're all eagerly awaiting the new experimental data that will be provided by the LHC.

Yesterday, I found a basic movie filmed at the site of the Collider. The movie discusses how they hope to create conditions that simulate the big bang (what could possibly go wrong there?). Basically, the largest super collider is currently at Fermi Labs in Illinois. The size of the super collider limits the speed and force at which scientists can smash particles, therefore limiting which subatomic particles can be "seen". Sadly for Fermi Labs, its super collider will soon provide antiquated. The Large Hadron Collider is being built near Geneva, Switzerland and is a joint effort among multiple nations.

Physicists hope the LHC will help answer:
  • Is the popular Higgs mechanism for generating elementary particle masses in the Standard Model, violated? If not, how many Higgs bosons are there, and what are their masses?
  • Will the more precise measurements of the masses of baryons continue to be mutually consistent within the Standard Model?
  • Do particles have supersymmetric ("SUSY") partners?
  • Why are there violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter?
  • Are there extra dimensions, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we "see" them?
  • What is the nature of the 96% of the universe's mass which is unaccounted for by current astronomical observations?
  • Why is gravity so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces?

Moving on from the Big Bang - The Big Suck is being planned somewhere between Seattle and San Francisco. Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces to offer one super instant messenger of suck.


At work I overheard someone spelling out a login or password or something. It was a sad attempt at military like spelling. It sounded like, "Bravo. Sissy. Dog. Zero. Telephone. One. One." So, in my infinite boredom, I looked up the military spelling code (I had no idea what to search for, so it took me a couple of minutes. It's called the NATO phonetic alphabet. It's my goal for the week to memorize it.

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