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Excellent LH Collider Op-Ed In NY Times  
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2149 times:

There's an excellent Op-Ed piece by Physics superstar Brian Greene in the NY Times. It explains the anticipated benefits of the experiment, and how they apply to all of us. He talks about Higgs, Supersymmetry, Black Holes and why it's all such a big deal. The most exciting part is that we may discover something totally unknown to science so far.

Today, We enjoy the benefits of the work of many generations of scientists before us, and it is our obligation to future generations to do our bit for humanity. Hopefully, LHC will be the defining contribution of our generation.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/12/opinion/12greene.html?ref=opinion

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20352 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 2106 times:

The last paragraph of the piece:

"Confirming an idea is always gratifying. But finding what you don’t expect opens new vistas on the nature of reality. And that’s what humans, including those of us who happen to be physicists, live for."

Many scientists fear the experiment that gives the completely unexpected result and rightly so. That experiment can lead you to question yourself, your sanity, your technique, and your career. It can turn you into a laughing-stock of a scientific magpie.

And yet the "accidents" are responsible for the discovery of penicillin, quantum mechanics, the nucleus, the electrical nature of lightning, and possibly even Newton's Laws of Motion (had that apple not fallen...).


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12966 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2077 times:



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
And yet the "accidents" are responsible for the discovery of penicillin, quantum mechanics, the nucleus, the electrical nature of lightning, and possibly even Newton's Laws of Motion (had that apple not fallen...).

And yet, these things didn't take $8B of someone else's money to figure out.

Three or four mathematical theories proven, the chance to generate a few more perhaps, for $8B.

Glad I'm not paying for this one.

I'm already stuck paying for part of a useless Space Station, which will allegedly be the most expensive object ever created by mankind.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2047 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
And yet, these things didn't take $8B of someone else's money to figure out.

Three or four mathematical theories proven, the chance to generate a few more perhaps, for $8B.

Glad I'm not paying for this one.

I'm already stuck paying for part of a useless Space Station, which will allegedly be the most expensive object ever created by mankind.

Revelation, did you get a chance to read the article?

$8B is mere chump change when you see the carnage in the Financial markets right now! It's also $8B not spent on useless wars...

It's $8B spent on employing scientists and engineers. Remember CERN gave us, for free, the World Wide Web, a bargain for the few billion spent on CERN's budget. Think of the wealth that was created in Silicon Valley itself - a payoff of about $1T?

Getting back to the LHC. We were thrilled when E=MC2 (another 'Math theory'?) showed us how to create energy from matter. Today Nuclear (Nu-cu-lar for you elitists out there) Reactors produce energy and save lives (I-131 isotopes). Aren't you thrilled out of your mind that now for the first time we are going to create matter out of energy?

So let's talk about the theories. These are life-changing theories, not just a bunch of equations. If we understand how dark 'molasses' works, it will revolutionize our understanding of the world around us. Who knows, we may be able to bend time, reach for the stars, teleport and god knows what someday. Who knows, we could be standing on the brink of the end of all knowledge - what happens to us next ? Do we get reborn as Star Children? OK I'm getting overly excited...

Revelation, It's not called the God Machine without reason. It should be called the Revelation machine! Down on your knees man, and start praying!!  pray 

My fellow human beings, this is the best Euro 6B ever spent. Anybody who objects to it is from a parallel universe who doesn't wants us to find out  Smile


User currently offlineBeta From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

The LHC is a joint US-Japan-Europe project, after the supercollider project was scrapped in the US. Initially the US supported Japan being the site, but the French balked. Eventually the US came round to support it being sited in Europe, CERN (which made sense, actually). Japan got something (I forgot what) in return for her acquiesce. The Economist, in one of its issue in 03 or 04 went into details about the financial and scientific arrangement. So however much the project cost, a % of that is US and Japanese $. I think this is a worthwhile scientific endeavor. Compare to the ISS, this is chump change.

User currently offlineMD80fanatic From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2661 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2027 times:

Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
Aren't you thrilled out of your mind that now for the first time we are going to create matter out of energy?

That is "...to -convert- energy to matter", rather than "create matter", that's what E=MC**2 is all about.

I dig colliders too, like any other student of physics. But after a few rounds with them, you will start to come to the conclusion that all the next generation collider is doing is breaking up matter into the next smallest constituent, from the previous generation collider.

Basically, the collider before could accelerate protons to say 99.7% of the speed of light, whilst this new ring can go to 99.9% c. The exact numbers escape me but the difference between the two is equally small (on the order of .2% c). That's what all the hubbub is about.

This will be the last terrestrial mega-ring, since the cost per jump in energy is quickly passing diminishing returns. All we find anyway is more evidence matter displays fractaline properties no matter how close you look at it, or how fast you ram particles together. In other words....we will never get to the lowest common denominator...the one particle that is the basis of everything.....

Some people may wonder why such a large ring is needed to speed up protons....so small that they have never actually been seen visibly. The reason for the big ring, and again referring to Einstein's theories of matter as it nears the speed of light. anything with mass will appear to an observer at rest to be increasing in mass the closer it gets to c (speed of light). It takes a huge ring like that, filled with the strongest electromagnets you can imagine, to keep the burst of protons from escaping the ring via centrifugal force.

To go .1% c faster than this ring, would require a ring several times the size of the LHC, at who knows what cost.

End this post with a cool AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) image of.....well....atoms.  Smile

From http://www.physik.uni-augsburg.de/ex...allery/afmimages/afmimages_e.shtml



[Edited 2008-09-13 16:24:35]

User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12966 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1996 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
$8B is mere chump change when you see the carnage in the Financial markets right now! It's also $8B not spent on useless wars...

I hope you have a better argument rather than "they're wasting more money than I am"....

Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
It's $8B spent on employing scientists and engineers. Remember CERN gave us, for free, the World Wide Web, a bargain for the few billion spent on CERN's budget. Think of the wealth that was created in Silicon Valley itself - a payoff of about $1T?

So, you can say that without CERN we'd not have anything like WWW? I doubt it. It was just one of many projects working with hypertext ideas at the time.

We really don't need government throwing billions of dollars at scientist's wet dreams, any more than we need them throwing billions of dollars at unnecessary wars.

Quoting Beta (Reply 4):
The LHC is a joint US-Japan-Europe project, after the supercollider project was scrapped in the US.

I knew it was too good to be true - I am paying for a piece of the thing, sigh...

Somehow the coverage I've seen on LHC is pretty mute about US participation - I wonder why?

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 5):
Basically, the collider before could accelerate protons to say 99.7% of the speed of light, whilst this new ring can go to 99.9% c.

The Times article says 99.999999 percent of the speed of light and I presume Mr. Greene is using the proper degree of precision, no?

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 5):
This will be the last terrestrial mega-ring, since the cost per jump in energy is quickly passing diminishing returns.

Just like NASA's manned spaceflights - the bang for the buck factor is pretty darn close to zero, IMHO.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1971 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
$8B is mere chump change when you see the carnage in the Financial markets right now! It's also $8B not spent on useless wars...

I hope you have a better argument rather than "they're wasting more money than I am"....

The rest of my thread is the argument...

Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
It's $8B spent on employing scientists and engineers. Remember CERN gave us, for free, the World Wide Web, a bargain for the few billion spent on CERN's budget. Think of the wealth that was created in Silicon Valley itself - a payoff of about $1T?

So, you can say that without CERN we'd not have anything like WWW? I doubt it. It was just one of many projects working with hypertext ideas at the time.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee 9CERN employee) was the genius behind the WWW. I'm old enough to remember Hypercard on the Mac, courtesy of PARC. Let's give credit where credit is due.




Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Quoting Beta (Reply 4):
The LHC is a joint US-Japan-Europe project, after the supercollider project was scrapped in the US.

I knew it was too good to be true - I am paying for a piece of the thing, sigh...

As you should... when tractor beams save us from those mean asteroids  Wink

Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Somehow the coverage I've seen on LHC is pretty mute about US participation - I wonder why?

Because the US is being invaded by palinistic policy makers who'd rather spend the money on defending Creationism...oops, my bias is showing...

Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
The Times article says 99.999999 percent of the speed of light and I presume Mr. Greene is using the proper degree of precision, no?

It's DR. Greene or PROF Greene, a future NL, and considered quite 'hot' by Co-eds at Columbia, I'll have you know...

Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 5):
This will be the last terrestrial mega-ring, since the cost per jump in energy is quickly passing diminishing returns.

Just like NASA's manned spaceflights - the bang for the buck factor is pretty darn close to zero, IMHO.

Revelation, I felt the same way like you about the ISS. Since I've read the article, I'm now a believer, I 've seen the light thanks to Dr. Greene.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14139 posts, RR: 63
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1961 times:



Quoting Beta (Reply 4):
Eventually the US came round to support it being sited in Europe, CERN (which made sense, actually). Japan got something (I forgot what) in return for her acquiesce.

They are actually using the old CERN accelerator as part of the new LHC.

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 5):
Basically, the collider before could accelerate protons to say 99.7% of the speed of light, whilst this new ring can go to 99.9% c. The exact numbers escape me but the difference between the two is equally small (on the order of .2% c). That's what all the hubbub is about.

If you would have read your specific theory of relativity, you would know that you can't acclerate an object with a mass at rest to speed of light. The closer you'll get to speed of light, the more you'll increase it's mass (at speed of light the mass would be infinite, so you can never reach speed of light, because in this case the energy to accelarate to object would also be infinite). Since kinetic energy is E= m/2 * V² , you'll increase the kinetic energy as a whole,
This accelerator largely increases the kinetic energy of the particles into dimensions not yet reached by previous generations of accelarators.
The only particles which can reach speed of light are massless, like photons.

Jan


User currently offlineBeta From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1941 times:

Quoting Comorin (Reply 7):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Somehow the coverage I've seen on LHC is pretty mute about US participation - I wonder why?

Because the US is being invaded by palinistic policy makers who'd rather spend the money on defending Creationism...oops, my bias is showing...

Dude, can you leave politics out for 1 second ? It's nauseating.

Quoting Comorin (Reply 7):
It's DR. Greene or PROF Greene, a future NL, and considered quite 'hot' by Co-eds at Columbia, I'll have you know...

I read a couple of his books written for non-physics layman. Good read. Isn't he a theoretical physicist? Nobel prize rarely is awarded to theoretical physicists. Stephen Hawking is still awaiting his. Nobel tends to go with the experimental, applied science guys.

[Edited 2008-09-13 23:17:39]

User currently onlinePyrex From Portugal, joined Aug 2005, 4067 posts, RR: 30
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1934 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Just like NASA's manned spaceflights - the bang for the buck factor is pretty darn close to zero, IMHO.

Do you want the greatest technlogical contribution to posterity of our generation to be the 3rd-generation iPhone?



Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20352 posts, RR: 59
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1890 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
So, you can say that without CERN we'd not have anything like WWW? I doubt it. It was just one of many projects working with hypertext ideas at the time.

Without earlier quantum-mechanical experiments that revealed the nature of the atom, we would have no computers, no LCD screens, no cell phones, nothing.

Who knows what technology this new generation of colliders may bring?

Only a fool stands against science. History has taught us that time and time again. Don't be another example.


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1878 times:



Quoting Beta (Reply 9):
Dude, can you leave politics out for 1 second ? It's nauseating.

Sorry, Beta, it was a mischievous comment unworthy of the topic at hand.

Quoting Beta (Reply 9):
Quoting Comorin (Reply 7):
It's DR. Greene or PROF Greene, a future NL, and considered quite 'hot' by Co-eds at Columbia, I'll have you know...

I read a couple of his books written for non-physics layman. Good read. Isn't he a theoretical physicist? Nobel prize rarely is awarded to theoretical physicists. Stephen Hawking is still awaiting his. Nobel tends to go with the experimental, applied science guys.

He's a String Theory guy. The reason you have so few NLs these days is because the golden age of Theoretical Physics took place during the time of 'Copenhagen' and Quantum Mechanics. Fermi, Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli were all theoretical physicists. It makes sense that you would follow a brilliant burst of theory with applied work. Hopefully, the results of the LHC experiment will lead to a renaissance of theoretical work. We still know very little about the Universe.


User currently offlineMD80fanatic From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2661 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1877 times:



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
Without earlier quantum-mechanical experiments that revealed the nature of the atom, we would have no computers, no LCD screens, no cell phones, nothing.

Those experiments were a long time ago. We are getting so far ahead of ourselves in particle physics....that we will not be able to utilize any knowledge gained commercially in our lifetimes. What happens inside of protons and neutrons we cannot control at this time, and thus cannot utilize it. What benefit is gained from blasting matter into it's most basic components when not even the most costly and advanced medical scanner (probably the closest commercial application you and I will ever see from high-energy physics) can generate even a fraction of the energy needed to repeat what is possible at CERN? To use a quark, one must first "get at it"...and the only way to do that is to blast hadrons apart and very very quickly study the results.

Some physicists spend their whole lives in pursuit of elusive mystery particles, and giant machines like LHC give them something to ejaculate over (figuratively of course). The purpose of the machine, right now, is to verify advanced mathematical ideas ..... yet another attempt to unify all forces into one ..... the holy grail of physics ..... So Stephen Hawking and others can say "I told you so".

All of this is as important to the non-physicist citizenry as what is in the center of the Earth. If the core of the Earth was made of cheese, would it make any difference on the surface? It's strictly academic at this point in our technological development.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1875 times:



Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 13):
We are getting so far ahead of ourselves in particle physics....that we will not be able to utilize any knowledge gained commercially in our lifetimes. What happens inside of protons and neutrons we cannot control at this time, and thus cannot utilize it.

How do we know without looking? We look because we can, not because we've had enough of a rest.


User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1407 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1866 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 8):
They are actually using the old CERN accelerator as part of the new LHC.

Actually, they are not  Smile. They are just using the same tunnel in which the LEP was situated for the LHC. The accelerator and storage ring are all-new  Smile.

Btw, the LHC accelerates the protons on approximately 99.9999998% of the speed of light (energy in the center of gravity when colliding is 14 TeV, proton mass 938 MeV/c², 2 beams with 7 TeV each).

Sorry, but my particle physics lectures are already a few years away, so my calculation may be flawed...



WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
User currently offlineMD80fanatic From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2661 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1854 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 14):
How do we know without looking? We look because we can, not because we've had enough of a rest.

Cost to potential gain is getting out of hand. It's more and more expensive to get less and less of a kinetic energy increase. If we wait for advances in technology, it will cost less in money and real estate to contain this energy.

Accelerators are like cocaine, eventually you will be spending all your money and hardly feeling a thing in return. I think it's human arrogance to presume there is a "God particle", a simple basis for everything. Humans cannot comprehend that God has no beginning (and no end), and they cannot accept the possible fact that the matter He created has the same property.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1851 times:



Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 16):
I think it's human arrogance to presume there is a "God particle", a simple basis for everything.

If they're proven wrong, they'll have something else to work on. They're not "decreeing" that there shall be no more fundamental particle, just that current knowledge suggests that this particle will explain a whole lot that we don't know at the moment.

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 16):
Humans cannot comprehend that God has no beginning (and no end), and they cannot accept the possible fact that the matter He created has the same property.

But these are physicists, not theologists. Some might suggest it's arrogant to say we can't understand God, therefore stop your pesky physics.  Smile

If we stop looking, we definitely won't learn anything more.


User currently offlineMD80fanatic From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2661 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1846 times:

Makes sense Dave, I do not want to stop looking either, just meter it better considering the general financial climate of the world. No doubt in the future it will be much easier to get protons moving with such energies, and since practical application of any knowledge gained is still probably a century into the future....why not wait a little while longer? That's all I am saying really. People see the 17 mile ring and think, wtf? If people really knew exactly how astronomically huge the theorized "carbon footprint" is for this new LHC, they'd be pulling their hair out in bunches.

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8508 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1839 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
And yet, these things didn't take $8B of someone else's money to figure out.

Three or four mathematical theories proven, the chance to generate a few more perhaps, for $8B.

$8 billion is what the Iraq War costs every 23 days. It's far more useful to try and stop the war than to complain about the LHC.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20352 posts, RR: 59
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1800 times:



Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 13):
Those experiments were a long time ago.

About 100 years, in fact. And without them, we would have very little of what we have today.

The LHC will give us benefits. But about 100 years down the road.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12966 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1753 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 7):

Sir Tim Berners-Lee 9CERN employee) was the genius behind the WWW. I'm old enough to remember Hypercard on the Mac, courtesy of PARC. Let's give credit where credit is due.

It's not what I said at all. My point is there is no causality link between the existence of CERN and technologies that became WWW.

That doesn't take away from TBL at all.

BTW I was using GML and SGML at IBM in the 80's.

Lots of folks were looking at hypertext systems at the time. TBL and team was the one people accepted, and that's a great accomplishment, but it doesn't mean that if there was no CERN and TBL there would be nothing like WWW in existence today.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 10):

Do you want the greatest technlogical contribution to posterity of our generation to be the 3rd-generation iPhone?

Yes, I'd be quite happy with that.because it was done with private money.

$8B of public money so physicists can sigh with relief because their mathematics all checks out ok just doesn't cut it for me.

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 16):
Cost to potential gain is getting out of hand.[/quote
 checkmark 

[quote=MD-90,reply=19]$8 billion is what the Iraq War costs every 23 days. It's far more useful to try and stop the war than to complain about the LHC.

Why not try to do both?



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently onlinePyrex From Portugal, joined Aug 2005, 4067 posts, RR: 30
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1727 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 21):
Yes, I'd be quite happy with that.because it was done with private money.

You remind me of the national academies of science that were saying that "Physics is dead" because there was nothing else left to discover at the end of the 19th century.



Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12966 posts, RR: 25
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1675 times:



Quoting Pyrex (Reply 22):
You remind me of the national academies of science that were saying that "Physics is dead" because there was nothing else left to discover at the end of the 19th century.

Nah, physics isn't dead, but it should be driven by private funding. For instance, IBM Research has/had Nobel Lauriates in Physics. Works fine by me.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineBeta From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1662 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 23):
Nah, physics isn't dead, but it should be driven by private funding. For instance, IBM Research has/had Nobel Lauriates in Physics. Works fine by me.

Problem is important discovery made with private corp. funding becomes proprietary information. After all the investors want to recoup their investment. It certainly will not stop scientific advancement, but it will significantly retard progress as opposed to accelerate. Moreover, private investors/corp. will not invest in venture that yield low short-term economic profits. For instance, hell would freeze over before IBM or any comp would fund an exp. like this. Hence certain amount of public investment in scientific researches is wise and beneficial to ensure the free flowing, exchange of ideas, discoveries, information. It will ultimately serve public interests. Of course, the question of how much public funding should always be subjected to debate to ensure rigorous oversight against some of the crazier ideas dreamed up by many PhDs. And personally I have seen my fair share of them.
Personally I think this exp. is worthwhile. I hope exp. like this will eventually yield a way to achieve nuclear fusion in microscale, which is the ultimate renewable energy source.

[Edited 2008-09-15 10:21:34]

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