I've been watching with interest the latest happenings at CERN.
Call it a selfish interest, as I would like to know if I should start living it up over the next week or so before we either get sucked into a black hole or the fabric of the universe is torn apart.
You know, those little everyday things you worry about.
I was extremely surprised when the experiments at CERN were brought up over a Father's Day lunch yesterday, this was starting to make the everyday headlines. Like all conversations when my family get around the table, the debate began..
"There's only a small chance anything will go wrong" was the argument from the others at the table.
My argument: "And the world is full of people who have been proven wrong. Sometimes repeatedly. Have you been watching Bush's Presidency?".
Others: "Mathematically speaking they are saying if they do succeed the black hole will exist for the tiniest amount of time"
My argument: "What if someone forgot to carry the one?!!"
Others: "The test is being conducted 100m underground"
My argument: "A few BILLION kilometres past Pluto I think is a more suitable location to be testing this. I hear the Pegasus Galaxy is lovely at this time of year."
So while I played Devil's Advocate over the dining table, I'm actually sitting on the fence with this one.
It fascinates me so I want to see this succeed. At the same time, I've read enough Sci Fi books to know that things like this can go wrong and we don't really have the tested and proven mathematics yet to fully understand the consequences. And let's face it, it's a pretty harsh learning curve.
Computer: "I'm sorry, but your formula was incomplete or not compatible. Report this error to Microsoft?".
Scientist: "Ah, crap"
If they do succeed and manage to recreate the few moments after the big bang, there will be much rejoicing and high-fiving (along with the subsequent eye injuries) amongst the scientific community, but what will the impact be on religion?
As time goes by and science continues to make new discoveries, the foundation of some religions is being chipped away at gradually. I have no religious roots so I'm not going through any deep philosophical turmoil, but I can see how some will.
If the big bang is proven and can be recreated, does this mean that evolution needs to be accepted as fact? So, no Adam and Eve? What happens if people start to doubt the concept of heaven and hell? No consequences of actions? Will this experiment cause there to be a new interpretation of the texts such as what is occurring with Pope Benedict now accepting the possibility of life on other planets?
I'm a karma person so I always believe in consequences of actions no matter what dimension this device may send me to, but for those who believe a higher being is watching their every move in order to make a judgement as to which direction to send them come their day, this will be interesting.
Anyway, enough of the serious stuff.
I stumbled across some amazing photos of the LHC coming together over the last couple of years (thanks to boston.com), but to be honest, some of them haven't been filling me with confidence.
You plan on recreating the start of the universe and this is the biggest fire truck you can find?!
I keep reading how everything associated with the LHC is about being exact. If that is the case, can someone please get this man a welding mask that has some eyeholes in it.
Hypothetically speaking... Do you think everyone gets standy-uppy hair when they get close to this thing?
Click on this image to see the true scale of the facility.
So no matter what the outcome, this is going to be interesting...