LHC [research + brainstorm]



BLOG update: 09/15


Large Hadron Collider: world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator 



The God particle (Higgs Boson)



CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research): physicists and engineers probe for the fundamental structure of the universe

Instruments: purpose driven particle accelerators and detectors





Higgs Boson (God particle)


from RT:

“The God particle found by CERN could destroy the universe,” Hawking wrote in the preface to a book, Starmus, a collection of lectures by scientists. The Higgs Boson could become unstable at very high energy levels and have the potential to trigger a “catastrophic vacuum decay which would cause space and time to collapse and… we would not have any warning to the dangers,” he continued.

Hawking is not the only voice in the scientific wilderness predicting possible catastrophe if CERN continues in the atomic fast lane. Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson told Eugene Mirman on his Star Talk radio program that the experiment could literally cause the planet to “explode.”

“Ask yourself: How much energy is keeping it together? Then you put more than that amount of energy into the object.”Tyson was confident of the result: “It will explode.”

In late 2008, when CERN was first firing up the engines on its atom-smashing machine, Otto Rossler, a German professor at the University of Tubingen, filed a lawsuit against CERN with the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds that the facility could trigger a mini black hole that could get out of control and annihilate the planet. The Court tossed out Rossler’s request, but he nevertheless succeeded in generating heated discussion on the possible dark side of the experiment.

Look up youtube videos

BPEarthWatch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZnsZPhonnI




Expert: Francois Grey

Francois Grey: http://www.billionbrainblog.com/

Questions planned to ask

Resources mentioned

Media mentioned

On the topic of fear 

CERN is open to share information and does not do any type of private or military research that cannot be shared.

On mini black holes: 

Difference in way of communication between physicists and regular people. For physicists, they want to consider and look at all possibilities, even when there is very little chance of its occurrence. But for the public, these small possibilities has huge consequences, and they want the assurance of  0% of this happening. 

PR wanted the scientists to tell the public that there will be 0% of producing a black hole (?), but to the physicists this is not scientifically accurate.

The solution was a compromise, where the scientists compared the collision to everyday natural phenomenon – cosmic rays from the sun colliding with Earth with huge energy, more energy than the LHC collision.

On a serious case: 

Error of seeing particles moving faster than the speed of light, scientists talked to the press prematurely, and was a media debacle

On celebrity scientist fearmongering:

Stephen Hawking is a very bright scientist, but he is also very media savvy. The science community takes his public comments with a grain of salt. Some of these scientists want the spotlight and it could be that they are trying to bring more attention to these research

On LHC’s impact

There is no direct impact at least in our life time. The Higgs boson can only exist in a few seconds at a time. 

But the question is why did we go to the moon? It didn’t have any direct impact for a long time. But it’s a sense of wonder and possibilities. 

Indirect impacts: inventions that are used today

Economical impact: perhaps this is the reason politicians are allowing so much money to be used to fund this

Member nations give money proportional to their GDP for buying equipment, etc. And the contracts for various development goes to companies in countries also proportional to how much money that country has given. These contracts stimulates the economy and innovation in that country. 

Personal interests in this

When LHC first started and the discovery of the Higgs boson, there were so much media attention and excitement, though not many people have an understanding of what the Higgs boson is and how it works, not even the non-specialist scientists at CERN. 

"People are excited about something they don’t understand." 

Perhaps it give people a sense of discovery

LHC is exciting for Francois because:

Very few times in his experience as a physicist that there is discovery of this magnitude and there is something that he knows that not many others do. It’s an expansion of knowledge and awe for him. Instead of the negative news cycle that he sees everyday of politics and the world, this is something positive to look forward to.

To look at

Follow up






Explain to 10 year old:



Explain to 10 year old:

Questions to the LHC:


Explain to 10 year old:

Questions to LHC:



Explain to 10 year old:



"don’t know what it is"

Explain to 10 year old:

Why they are doing it







Eno Henze


Raphael Rozendaal





Aram Bartholl


Dr. Ilija Vukotic 


Particle Fever movie clip: sculpture garden



Metonymy: the Colour




Fear: H. P. Lovecraft

Call of Cthulhu

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”