Pandora’s Box

The Large Hadron Collider project shot off its first beam of protons yesterday and I’m still here to write about it.

My desk was covered with projects, and still I spent part of yesterday thinking about the beam that was being shot though a circular tunnel 300 feet under France and Switzerland.

It seemed like a possibility we could open a worm hole. I was actually starting to look forward to a walk along the beach with Jodie Foster’s dad.

Eventually it lead to one of those interesting conversations with my boss.

“How do you know we won’t create a black hole that will flip us inside out like a doughnut?” I said. He took this to be a sign I was having a particularly overloaded morning and suggested I log into Pandora and find some calming folk (read that “lesbian”) music and chill out.

(Pandora is the result of the Music Genome Project, another kind of Big Bang altogether.)

Then last night I repeated this to my girlfriend. “We really don’t know what we’re going to unleash, do we?” I said. “We could completely invert ourselves.”

“How do you know we didn’t?” she asked.

“Well, if time moves more slowly in a black hole, and we’ve already inverted, we’d be younger than we were yesterday, right?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “But if we went out dancing, I’m sure you’d be leading.”

BTW, last spring, National Geographic published a nice piece about the collider, called “The God Particle.” You can read the story here.


2 responses to “Pandora’s Box


    Stephen Hawking had something to say about all this….
    He made me laugh soo hard.

  2. What Mr. Hawking had to say (this from theLHC’s Wikipedia entry): Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that “I think it will be much more exciting if we don’t find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won’t find the Higgs.” In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that “whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe.”

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