Monday, April 07, 2008

Boys will be boys

Most boys will agree that there is some kind of an inexplicable pleasure in smashing things together, throwing glass bottles at concrete walls etc. And most grown-up men will admit, at least privately that this isn't something that we grow out of.
The scientists for the LHC are at least admitting this openly with their massive scaled experiment. And those cynics who question the morality of these expensive toys should think on these lines too:

The cynic might say that there's no practical use for any of this, that there might be other uses for all the money and brainpower going into these particle guns. But we live in a civilization shaped by physics. We know that the forces within an atom are so powerful that, unleashed and directed against humanity, they can obliterate cities in an instant. The laptop computer
on which I'm writing uses microprocessors that would not exist had we not discovered quantum physics and the quirky behavior of electrons. This story will be posted on the World Wide Web—invented, in case you hadn't heard, at CERN, by computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. Maybe you're reading it while listening to your iPod, which wouldn't exist but for something called "giant magnetoresistance." Two physicists discovered it independently in the late 1980s, with not much thought of how it might eventually be used. It became crucial to making tiny consumer electronics that used magnetized hard disks. The physicists won a Nobel Prize in
2007, and you got a nifty sound system that's smaller than a Hershey bar.
More pictures here and details about the hunt for the God particle here