Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Particle Article II: Be Kind to Hadrons

A hadron (pronounced /hɑːdɹɒn/, from Greek ἁδρός, hadros, thick), in particle physics, is any strongly interacting composite subatomic particle. All hadrons are composed of quarks. Hadrons are divided into two classes, according to their baryon number [...]

The above definition comes from Wikipedia; if you would like to read more, here's the link.

The Large Hadron Collider Experiment at CERN, said to be the largest scientific experiment in Man's history, is scheduled to start on 10th September this year. Enormous sums have been spent in preparing the experiment which is expected to break significant new ground in particle physics.

Very slowly, the huge magnets which will control the beams are being cooled, the target temperature being about - 271.25°C or about 1.75° Kelvin. CERN has thoughtfully provided a web page where the descending temperatures may be monitored. Here's an extract:

You can follow the cooldown progress here. So much for the science side of things.

Inevitably, such a large and well-publicised experiment has resulted in a number of eccentrics, doom-sayers and crackpots coming out of the woodwork - this article for example, refers to a court case in the USA where those bringing the action have described the Large Hadron Collider as a "Doomsday" machine.

Finally the news of the experiment has instigated the forming of a pressure group: People for the Ethical Treatment of Hadrons:

All is explained in this article at BBspot. Tia Aumiller who founded the group said:

"There's a limited supply of hadrons in the universe. Do we just want to go around destroying them? What if we run out? What if the hadrons can feel pain? Will we look back at this hundreds of years from now and regret it? Kinda like we do with the killing of bacteria with antibiotics now."

LHC project boss Erich Stanhoffe responded (rather humourlessly I thought)

"We've got the wackos who think we're going to rip a hole in the universe, and the people who think our real purpose is to create a race of Dr. Manhattans, but this is just weird..."

I hope to be able to manage a few more posts here before "Doomsday"; meanwhile I had better get on to Lastminute.com to see of there's a ticket left for somewhere like Betelgeuse although I expect that the French Trésor Publique probably already has a branch there (it'll be next door to HM Inland Revenue & Customs, inter-galactic division, just across the road from the European Parliament offices).

Until the next time.

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