“What the Large Hadron Collider is,” by T.F. Grundle, Professor of Particle Physics at a University

The Large Hadron Collider is an awfully big, magical machine that is designed to help us scientists find the Higgs particle, which will prove once and for all a whole mess of stuff that I don’t have time to describe right now.

How it works is you load up the opening part with protons (the smaller the better) and then turn it on. There’s a giant monitoring screen where you can observe the different protons crashing into each other, which, when studied by a proper physicist, gives us all kinds of information about science. Tons.

The machine itself is quite big. Bigger even than the truck that steals our rubbish collections.* I haven’t had a chance yet to see the collider, as it is in Switzerland. The Swiss are an odd people. They speak in tongues, and Michael thinks they don’t have blood!

The Large Hadron Collider may in time answer some of the toughest questions in physics: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is there room in the debate for a Divine Creator? Are there galaxies out there other than our own? How could an atom possibly be smaller than a dot?

In his new book, A Universe from Nothing, Lawrence Krauss addresses a few of these questions. One needs only to throw the book forcefully to the floor and skim whatever page it opens up to, and a vast and wonderful world of information arises, offering intriguing bits of scientific physics, such as this:

We now call the positron the “antiparticle” of the electron, because it turns out that Dirac’s discovery was ubiquitous. The same physics that required an antiparticle for the electron to exist requires one such particle to exist for almost every elementary particle in nature.

Hmmmmm. Very, very good.

I expect my next big theory to materialize after I visit the collider—which has not yet happened, because of the Swiss. I have been invited to see the LHC, but it’s far away and my cat Michael requires daily ointments.**

Perhaps, though, our weightiest question (why is there something rather than nothing?) is a bit naïve. Perhaps we are wrong to suspect that existence is so unlikely. Why do we think nothing makes more sense than thing? Maybe nothing is stranger. After all, no one has ever encountered nothing, so why should we assume it’s even a possibility? As inquisitive primates, we often ask questions based on our misguided intuition. Just think of the millions of us who lie awake for hours each night wondering, “How come there are no unicorns? It’s so simple, just put a horn on top of a horse.”

And yet there are no unicorns.

*Tip: If you hide your rubbish out back, they won’t be able to find it. But then you can’t show it off.
**This is not the same Michael as mentioned above! Hahahahahahaha! Everything in my house is named Michael.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to ““What the Large Hadron Collider is,” by T.F. Grundle, Professor of Particle Physics at a University

  1. Dear Dr. Grundle,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your essay on the Hadron Collider. You are very smart and I learned so much about things as well as nothings. It is so funny that you name everything in your house ‘Michael’. If you ever go to the South Pacific island of Vanuatu and meet the native tribe who worships Prince Charles, you’ll find that everything begins with the letter ‘n’!

    Yours truly,
    Julia

  2. I think there is something rather than nothing because the state of “nothing” is UNSTABLE. According to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (H.U.P.) of Quantum Physics,” nothing” does not stay “nothing” for long. A true nothing means no energy, no space and no time. Nothing might be thought of as a sphere of zero radius with nothing around it. Once a quantum event occurs (and it will according to H.U.P.) and the radius of this sphere expands slightly, the pressure ratio of the pressure inside of the sphere to the nothing “outside” of the sphere (zero pressure) is infinite or near infinite. Remember that a number divided by zero is infinity. This infinite pressure ratio causes a rapid expansion as in a Big Bang explosion – a bit like putting a balloon in a vacuum chamber. Since less pressure exists outside of the balloon, it expands rapidly and bursts. Google and download “The Origin of the Universe – Case Closed”. It’s easy to understand and will explain in greater detail. It also explains how the mass and gravitational energy in the universe is created from nothing without violating the Law of Conservation of Energy. It explains the origin of the universe from nothing.

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