Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The End is Nigh...maybe

Forget the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The end of the world may actually be ushered in by four nerds in labcoats. On Wednesday, scientists will fire up the world's largest and most powerful atom smasher which some believe may create tiny black holes that will engulf the entire planet. I hope that was listed among the "occupational hazards" in the contracts of the 3,000 people employed at the site. Something along the lines of, "You may be exposed to loud noises, frequent references to Star Trek, and gravitational forces strong enough to reduce you and the entire planet to the size of a subatomic particle."

The end of the world isn't the only cost of the operation. The "Large Hadron Collider", the cavernous machine that will be doing the atom smashing, includes a large circular tunnel over sixteen miles around and cost over 2 billion dollars to construct. It basically takes a stream of protons and accelerates them around the tunnel in one direction, then accelerates another stream in the opposite direction hoping that some of the protons will collide - then they see what "pieces" go flying out. It's kind of like trying to find out how a car works by driving two of them headlong into each other at high speeds, then studying the wreckage.

It's no wonder I found my quantum physiscs class in college a little - weird. It wasn't just about learning the differences between quarks, leptons, bosons, muons, and pions. But these subatomic particles also have "flavors" which are designated as up, down, strange, charm, top, and bottom. Is drug use high amongst particle physicists?

In any case, since the world may come to an end tomorrow, you might want to think about what you want to do today. Will you tell your family you love them? Resolve your differences with an enemy? Climb the mountain or take the bungee jump of your dreams? Finally get the guts to tell your neighbor that her lawn ornaments are tacky and your children really did cause the death of her missing cat? Whatever you do, do it fast because there are less than 24 hours before the release of the protons of doom. See you on the other side...


ray said...

doesn't anyone want to discuss quantum physics??

*crickets chirpping*

Tim said...

I have no idea what this post means. But crashing cars sounds cool. And congratulations again to Ambie on her baby.

Ambie said...

duhhh..... ( imagine Patrick Star drooling with a blank expression)