Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider succeeded today in smashing two particle beams into each other at an energy level three and a half times greater than ever achieved before.
With the success of this high-energy collision, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the collider, said they now can begin their long-anticipated hunt to answer some of the great mysteries of the universe - understanding dark matter and black holes and finding new dimensions.
Barring any mechanical trouble, physicists at CERN are hoping to run the collider for the next 18 to 24 months, looking for information on such things as the Higgs boson particle, otherwise known as the God particle. This elusive piece of matter is thought to be the answer to why objects have mass. Without this cornerstone of physics, many theories that serve as the underpinnings of human understanding of the universe evaporate.
So far, the Higgs bason particle remains a theory and CERN physicists are looking forward to investigating it. Today's collision is a forebear to the time when scientists will accelerate two particle beams toward each other at 99.9% of the speed of light.
Smashing the beams together creates showers of new particles that should re-create conditions in the universe just moments after its conception.
As a physics enthusiast, I normally just love any new investigation of our wonderful universe, but here for once find myself in disagreement with a physics experiment. I have already written about the danger of running this machine at all, a mistake which I believe can be put down to the inability of the human mind to conceive the risk in extremely improbable, but vastly immense, danger. People just can't internalise the size of the danger of destroying the entire planet. Odds against it, which admittedly are small, something like winning a lottery, simply don't become worth it at this scale of damage. However, I've already said all that, so let me say something different.
I am going to make a forecast: They will not discover the Higgs boson.
I don't have a solid reason for thinking so, but I do have an intuition. It goes like this: particle physics explains the roster of subatomic particles with a theory containing quite a few free parameters. That means the theory is not as persuasive as it might seem (much like a global warming computer model). So at the outset, I have little reason to believe the theory, I add to that the fact that the Higgs was predicted to have an energy less than that obtainable on previous colliders, and it wasn't found, so the theory was tuned to give it a higher energy. That lessens the credibility of the theory. Also, the theory is as it is, apart from needing to explain subatomic particles, but also to explain the big bang.
And I seriously doubt that the big bang ever happened.
Why? That's a long story, but this news will probably motivate me to write about it before too long.