CERN: LHC to fire first proton-smash ray next month
Hadron headbanger machine chilled to ramming speed
Scientists operating from a hollowed-out lair deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border have announced that their enormous, unprecedentedly powerful 27-kilometre proton cannon will shortly be ready to open fire. To be precise, "first beam" is scheduled for 10 September.
Uncharacteristically, perhaps, the boffins made their announcement via a normal press release rather than by seizing command of TV broadcasts. The traditional demand for a colossal sum of money to be paid by the world's governments on pain of cities erased hourly was also omitted - perhaps because these boffins have already received such funds in order to build their immense machine.
In fact, the mighty particle accelerator, officially named the Large Hadron Collider, is not designed as a doomsday weapon. Rather, it is intended to play exceptionally violent and scientific games of sub-atomic curveball billiards, in which protons will barrel round corners and smack into one another at close to light speed. This will cause them to explode, hurling various kinds of mysterious sub-subatomic gubbins in all directions.
It's hoped that premier-league boffins operating vast, essentially incomprehensible machines - thought likely to feature flashing lights and screens - in massive underground caverns will be able to monitor the resulting hail of hadron-smash frag: Dark matter, "god particles" and so forth. This will, of course, produce vast streams of data which will need to be analysed by titanic computer arrays worldwide, after which it is confidently expected that the whole of physics and possibly everything else will be found to have been wrong. Which is excellent, obviously - we're hoping for some kind of anti-grav technology out of this at the very least, if not stardrive.
However, not everyone loves the LHC. There are those - for instance eccentric Hawaii-based botanist Walter L Wagner, embroiled in a legal tussle with his former employers at the Umauma Gardens - who reckon that the LHC is, actually, a doomsday weapon after all. Wagner believes that excessively violent proton-bothering could spit out other things than the relatively mellow Higgs boson, dark matter and other anticipated treats.
He theorises (and he is a physics minor from Berkeley) that blundering boffinry bosses at the LHC's controls might catapult the entire Earth through a rent in the very fabric of reality into another and more hostile universe; perhaps one in which basic processes essential to life - for instance brewing - couldn't work, or where peckish man-eating dinosaurs ruled. Alternatively, meddling atom-smasher chiefs might inadvertently compact the Earth and human race down to the size of a pea - using a black hole, duh - rashly turn the planet and perhaps the entire galaxy into soup*, or unleash a runaway plague of magnetic monopoles.
International science alliance CERN, in control of the hadron-puncher, merely curls a supercilious lip at these concerns. The globo-brainboxes say they're almost good to go, having successfully frozen down the miles of superconducting magno-pipe necessary to power up their proton beams to warp speed. (The superconductors need to be at almost absolute zero to function.)
"Force majeure notwithstanding," says the CERN statement, "the LHC will see its first circulating beam on 10 September at the injection energy of 450 giga-electron-volts."
Once both clockwise and anticlockwise circulating beams are up, with protons barrelling round the whole 27-km loop at suitably outrageous rpms, it will be time to start letting them crash into each other and watch the hadro-frag fly. Assuming the universe doesn't vanish or anything, the boffins will then gradually turn a control (which we imagine to be called the "Big Knob") winding the beams up into the multiple tera-electron-volt range, at which time the ricochetting proton debris should start to become really weird. It's probably too much to expect that any bystanders will suddenly acquire superpowers, be catapulted into other dimensions, turn into cheese etc., but one can always hope.
Excellent news all round. ®
* Strangelet soup, that is.
For the Large Hadron Collider to work it is required to assume that time has no dimension. Reality is a series of sequential unrelated reference frames. Otherwise CERN is a time machine more than capable of rewriting reality.
Now to look at the proton just in points of simultaneity lets assume all the beam paths away from the directing, kicking and focus magnets are not subject to anything other than relative difference in velocity. It is your Einstein classic train in the tunnel relativity conundrum in micro scale.
Take the bulk of the beam path not subject to stress and divide it into paper thin sections. From the point of view of the along side the accelerator observer the option is to capture the proton between the paper thin section between the front of the sheet and the back of the sheet. Once the proton is in the page you can close the book and reopen before the proton leaves the page. Just as in the larger example of the train in the tunnel the gates of the tunnel so for our proton the closed book happens at different points of simultaneity.
So it can't be proven that the proton is different over the three quarter hour mark before impact or in the ten hour user time before dumping the entire beam into a carbon sink. But one can use the already accepted rules for matter for relativistic behavior at each point along the experiment and state that simultaneity does not exist for the protons in use. It is a leap of logic to therefore extend the concept to the entire windup and wind-down or ten hours and dump-stage.
So it is not the same proton at any point in reference frames of time equals zero or the whole machine is a time machine if time has any relevance to reality and symmetry breaking indicates that something is stretched beyond breaking point and now all that remains is to see is if there is a safety point.
Simply according to the math time has no significance and is not included otherwise the LHC is a very large and powerful time machine. Time is not included in the calculations because it means the protons injected into the machine are not the same ones getting smashed up during the hours in the machine. I don't know about the end of the universe but this machine has the capacity to rewrite to a trillionth of a second after the big bang some small part of our reality.
Just off topic momentarily it was pretty crude how the Olympics were used as a look away feel good to see the dogs of the old cold war given a run. I am so glad science didn't use global celebration as a foil for dumping the bad news. Just don't tell the kids there are no more shopping days until Christmas ... ever.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the press to this historic switching on of the large hadron collider. You've enjoyed the tour and filled on sarnies and now the time has come to flick the big read switch ... hctiws daer gib eht kcilf ot emoc sah emit eht won dna seinras no dellif dna ruot eht deyojne v'uoY ...
58 years and one month to the day of the Nagasaki nuclear explosion. Oh well, all in the name of science...
Fire, because if something goes wrong, it'll go really, REALLY, wrong.
10/9/8 and all that.