September 22 2008 / by TonyManfredi
Category: Technology Year: General Rating: 4 Hot
Underneath the mountainous Swiss Alps the Large Hadron Reactor was completed, albeit now under repair. A recent news report talks of a young Indian girl who committed suicide after hearing of the smashers potentially devastating effects. In the same country women and children have flocked to shrines to pray it won’t precipitate the end of all terranean life.
According to some this 10 billion dollar behemoth is so powerful it could create mini-singularities, aka black holes, that could gobble up more and more of the Earth’s matter until we and our planet are consumed. Believe it or not some people genuinely think this might happen, and have even filed lawsuits in American and European Courts to stop this device from being turned on. While the probability that this machine will destroy us is as sub-atomically small as the very thing we will use it to study, it raises some very interesting questions for the future. More and more our scientific eye is turning to focus on the most incredible questions underlying our very existence, using technology to research these areas that are little understood.
Depending on your point of view that could be more than just a little frightening.
Physicists, through a relentless need to understand our universe, have paved the way to our greatest technological leaps. The research conducted in the 20th century unlocked an unprecedented insight into the forces of electricity, magnetism, gravity, and the atom. These inquiries into the nature of our universe then gave birth to wonders both terrible and triumphant, from computers to nuclear weapons. What followed was the unification of these forces, such as electricity and magnetism, that allowed for the birth of computers and all that they have enabled. And now we are on the brink of the granddaddy of all such convergences, the unification of all forces into a super force, say physicists.
The super force is rooted in superstring theory, which some believe explains the fundamental base-level conditions that made possible the Big Bang, that created the heavens and the earth, the sun, and that makes all the wondrous technologies of the earth possible, according to many scientists. Among the possible spin-off effects of understanding this super force are quantuum computing, controlled fusion power, and the understanding of the eqautions that would open up the fabric of space-time.
As we begin to enter a profound age, instruments of discovery, such as the Hadron Collider, may seem increasingly terrifying and difficult to understand. Still, we as a global society will have to decide whether or not to continue tunneling down to the supersting level, funneling resources into such grand science experiments even if it might result in our own demise.
Can we stop ourselves? Can we keep from getting burned as we try to harness the fire?
Correction: Thanks to Cpt Sunbeam for pointing out that the CERN collider smashes protons and not atoms. The header has been adjusted accordingly.