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An Essential, Concise History of the LHC, 2002–2008

This is definitely worth a read if you are as excited about the Large Hadron Collider as I am, and it will hopefully tide you over until they’ve repaired the issue with liquid helium coolant spilling from a magnetic lock and have restarted the Great Experiment.  Interestingly, it includes links to articles regarding arguments that have sprung up amongst the shrill fringes. Though, they’re admittedly biased toward reality so those proponents of doomsday scenarios might claim, and correctly so, that they’re not being properly heard out.  (Please, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Lest-He-Appear-Suddenly-Like-Beetlejuice, this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to pipe in.  All other worlds — any other scientific blog on the internet — are yours, but stay the hell off Europa — my blog.)

And here comes a rant, because it’s relevant to my parenthetical last point.  Frankly, I’m sick and tired of loons being given the floor in a misguided attempt to air out both sides of every story.  Fine, be skeptical, attempt to disprove the science put forward stating that strangelets, micro-black-holes, Bose-novas, et cetera, are impossible, using real, peer-reviewed science based on existing foundations wherever possible. Also, it’s well possible that two or three PhD-owners could very well be wrong, but hundreds are far less likely to be wrong.  Your theories have to be able to a) be predictive, b) be duplicable by other scientists, and c) be falsifiable so as to actually allow for the possibility of experiments to prove or disprove them.

Science is not dogma, we do not accept the word of scientists with their arms crossed who demand we believe them without any proof.  They must give us proof or else their hypothesis does not graduate to a theory.   And even once a hypothesis becomes a theory, when presented with real evidence that a theory is flawed, the theory is either altered or overturned.  Despite this uncertainty that something might come along in the future to overturn the accepted theory, a “theory” is not a wild guess.  A “theory” in scientific terms is as close to fact as can be achieved, using the evidence at hand, and when a “theory” predicts stuff correctly, repeatedly, without being disproven, without contradictory evidence for years and years, then this strengthens and bolsters the theory’s credibility.  Yes, this sidebar is mostly directed at the flawed assertion that the theory of evolution is just a theory, but it’s relevant, because guess what?  So’s the theory of gravity, so’s the atomic theory, so’s cell theory, the theory of plate tectonics, the big bang theory, the kinetic theory of gases, chaos theory, and the theory of global anthropogenic climate change.  They’re all pretty well established, but all would fall to a proper bit of science — you know, as opposed to the usual tactic, being ideological ranting and pointing at a two thousand year old book or a study produced once but never duplicated by real scientists written by a shill funded by a special interest.  You can dispute them, but you have to prove that a better theory fits the evidence and/or prove the evidence does not fit the current theory.

To those of you who believe the LHC will destroy the world, why is your one or two scientists’ science (most of which being predicated on false assumptions or easily disprovable assertions) supposed to trump all the science that went into researching the feasibility of the project to begin with?  Why, when so many scientists have gone about disproving the doomsaying, do you cry repeatedly “why won’t you just perform a study to examine the safety of the project” when impartial scientists already have several times?  I guess what I’m asking is, why, when you play the scientific “game” within “the rules”, and lose, do you try to circumvent the rules to be heard?  Is it just that you’re sore losers?

Again, this isn’t me saying Beetlejuice.  I was nice the last time I edited your comments, I’ll be much less nice this time, so stay away, you-know-who.

On a related note — science, despite my “faith” in its processes and results, sure is strange.

Comments

  1. says

    While I’m not worried about the LHC destroying the world I do wonder, and worry a little, about how much energy it’s using. Does anyone have any figures on how much it uses? Is it fueled by sustainable energy by any chances? High hopes perhaps.

  2. says

    http://lhc-machine-outreach.web.cern.ch/lhc-machine-outreach/faq/lhc-energy-consumption.htm — at its peak, when everything’s running full-bore, 180 megawatts, about five times .  During winter, when it’s shut down and all that’s still running is the adjoining facilities for the scientists, 35 megawatts.

    This is about five times the city it’s built under, at its peak.  It has diesel generators for backup, however I believe the main power for the LHC and town is nuclear. Switzerland does have a good deal of hydroelectric generation though, so I’m not sure.

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