Fans Should Not Give Up the Ghost

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Tales of the para­nor­mal are the main­stay of pop­u­lar cul­ture, ap­peal­ing to all age groups. So it comes as a killjoy that a sci­en­tist now claims that the Large Hadron Col­lider (LHC) con­clu­sively proves that there’s no such thing as ghosts. That gi­gan­tic ma­chine should have been sat­is­fied with the No­bel Prize-win­ning achieve­ment of prov­ing the ex­is­tence of the “God Par­ti­cle” — a.k.a. the Higgs bo­son — which ex­cites a much smaller com­mu­nity than the mil­lions ad­dicted to ghostly capers. By ven­tur­ing into the sphere of revenants, it risks the dan­ger of spir­ited op­po­si­tion by those de­voted to phan­tas­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­clud­ing per­haps Shah Rukh Khan who re­vealed this week that he’s a fan of the fic­tional Dirk Gen­tly’s Holis­tic De­tec­tive Agency that probes para­nor­mal in­ci­dents.

As fans of su­per­nat­u­ral sagas will agree, par­ti­cle physi­cists can­not be deemed the last word on mat­ters in­cor­po­real as they are con­cerned with, well, mat­ter. So, they would in­evitably in­sist that if the LHC can­not “see” ghosts — which could be clas­si­fied as ex­ten­sions of the Stan­dard Model of Par­ti­cle Physics — they can­not ex­ist. But since the USP of ghosts is that they have no form, and nei­ther quan­tum nor par­ti­cle physics has all the answers to the Uni­verse yet, the mat­ter of ghosts must re­main neb­u­lous.

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