LHC: back in ac­tion

Focus-Science and Technology - - Mega Pixel - Roger Col­li­son, West York­shire Jean Foot David Storer, Tot­ton

For some years I have fol­lowed the Large Hadron Col­lider and the search for the Higgs bo­son. I was de­lighted to read the ex­cel­lent 10-page sum­mary on this work in the April edi­tion, which helped to bring the ma­te­rial to­gether. Due to the com­plex­ity of the tech­nol­ogy, it has taken nearly 50 years since the Higgs was first pre­dicted to its ac­tual dis­cov­ery. Now that the LHC has been up­graded to run at higher en­er­gies, I look for­ward to read­ing about de­vel­op­ments in fu­ture. ‘The stan­dard model ex­plained’ (April, p92) was out­stand­ing in its clar­ity. It en­abled me to get a rea­son­able un­der­stand­ing of the atom – at least enough to fol­low with in­ter­est the hap­pen­ings at the LHC. Per­haps an ar­ti­cle on quan­tum physics would help me to fol­low this more clearly too. I read the ar­ti­cle about the LHC in the April is­sue and there ap­pears to be no men­tion of black holes be­ing formed. Sup­pos­ing the cre­ation of a run­away black hole is not the pre­serve of science fic­tion but a pos­si­ble re­al­ity... what then? As­tronomers tell us that there are prob­a­bly mil­lions of Earth-like plan­ets in the Galaxy, so why have we never heard from them? Could it be that they too had their very own LHCs? Per­haps SETI should be con­cen­trat­ing on lo­cat­ing small black holes or­bit­ing in the Goldilocks zones of their yel­low stars… The Earth’s at­mos­phere is con­stantly be­ing bom­barded by cos­mic rays at en­er­gies far ex­ceed­ing that of the LHC, and noth­ing bad has hap­pened. For more, see Dr Tony Padilla’s video at https://youtu.be/KETtEHX3pwo

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