After a series of setbacks
, scientists have done it
. They've mashed protons together at 99
percent of the speed of light and at a record-high energy level of 3.5
trillion electron volts. The experiment took place at the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland but scientists around the world watched excitedly
feed. What does this mean for the field? Science buffs revel in today's
- This Is a Big Deal! exclaims Geoff Brumfiel at Nature: "I
can't think of another case where the future of an entire field hinges
on the success of a single experiment...It could verify current theories
of particle physics, most notably the Higgs mechanism, which endows all
matter with mass. It could also discover new physics beyond the current
'standard model', and explain some current mysteries in physics like
'dark matter', a mysterious form of matter that makes up around 85% of
all matter in the universe."
- Why Scientists Are Excited Melissa Franklin, Professor of Physics at Harvard,
explains what this means for the scientific community in an interview
late last year:
Expect Instant Results, cautions LHC Spokesman Guido Tonelli to the BBC: "Major discoveries
will happen only when we are able to collect billions of events and
identify among them the very rare events that could present a new state
of matter or new particles. This is not going to happen tomorrow. It
will require months and years of patient work."
- This Is What
Science Is All About, rejoices Stacey Higginbotham at
Gigaom: "The LHC built by CERN represents why I spend my days writing
about technology — not because I’m excited to play with the latest
gadgets, but because I value the spirit of curiosity and discovery that
leads scientists to spend $16 billion to build something that may (not
will, but may) give us an inkling about how the universe works."
First Physics Day, declare the editors
of Big Think: "Now there is a new March holiday, First Physics Day,
which is being celebrated today because the particles in the Large
Hadron Collider are finally being smashed together at super high
energies that mirror conditions after the Big Bang. The physics
community is aflutter over the potential of bagging the elusive Higgs
boson, and the rest of us are grateful that, improbable as it seemed,
the collider did not create a
fatal black hole."
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