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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oct. 22 - A particle God doesn’t want us to discover

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A particle God doesn’t want us to discover

Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future, as some physicists say

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A particle God doesn’t want us to discover

Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future, as some physicists say

Hadron Collider

Explosions, scientists arrested for alleged terrorism, mysterious breakdowns — recently Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has begun to look like the world’s most ill-fated experiment.

Is it really nothing more than bad luck or is there something weirder at work? Such speculation generally belongs to the lunatic fringe, but serious scientists have begun to suggest that the frequency of Cern’s accidents and problems is far more than a coincidence.

The LHC, they suggest, may be sabotaging itself from the future — twisting time to generate a series of scientific setbacks that will prevent the machine fulfilling its destiny.

At first sight, this theory fits comfortably into the crackpot tradition linking the start-up of the LHC with terrible disasters. The best known is that the £3 billion particle accelerator might trigger a black hole capable of swallowing the Earth when it gets going. Scientists enjoy laughing at this one.

This time, however, their ridicule has been rather muted — because the time travel idea has come from two distinguished physicists who have backed it with rigorous mathematics.

What Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, are suggesting is that the Higgs boson, the particle that physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be “abhorrent to nature”.

What does that mean? According to Nielsen, it means that the creation of the boson at some point in the future would then ripple backwards through time to put a stop to whatever it was that had created it in the first place.

This, says Nielsen, could explain why the LHC has been hit by mishaps ranging from an explosion during construction to a second big bang that followed its start-up. Whether the recent arrest of a leading physicist for alleged links with Al-Qaeda also counts is uncertain.

Nielsen’s idea has been likened to that of a man travelling back through time and killing his own grandfather. “Our theory suggests that any machine trying to make the Higgs shall have bad luck,” he said.

“It is based on mathematics, but you could explain it by saying that God rather hates Higgs particles and attempts to avoid them.”

His warnings come at a sensitive time for Cern, which is about to make its second attempt to fire up the LHC. The idea is to accelerate protons to almost the speed of light around the machine’s 17-mile underground circular racetrack and then smash them together.

In theory the machine will create tiny replicas of the primordial “big bang” fireball thought to have marked the creation of the universe. But if Nielsen and Ninomiya are right, this latest build-up will inevitably get nowhere, as will those that come after — until eventually Cern abandons the idea altogether.

This is, of course, far from being the first science scare linked to the LHC. Over the years it has been the target of protests, wild speculation and court injunctions.

Fiction writers have naturally seized on the subject. In Angels and Demons, Dan Brown sets out a diabolical plot in which the Vatican City is threatened with annihilation from a bomb based on antimatter stolen from Cern.

Blasphemy, a novel from Douglas Preston, the bestselling science-fiction author, draws on similar themes, with a story about a mad physicist who wants to use a particle accelerator to communicate with God. The physicist may be American and the machine located in America, rather than Switzerland, but the links are clear.

Even Five, the TV channel, has got in on the act by screening FlashForward, an American series based on Robert Sawyer’s novel of the same name in which the start-up of the LHC causes the Earth’s population to black out for two minutes when they experience visions of their personal futures 21 years hence. This gives them a chance to change that future.

Scientists normally hate to see their ideas perverted and twisted by the ignorant, but in recent years many physicists have learnt to welcome the way the LHC has become a part of popular culture. Cern even encourages film-makers to use the machine as a backdrop for their productions, often without charging them.

Nielsen presents them with a dilemma. Should they treat his suggestions as fact or fiction? Most would like to dismiss him, but his status means they have to offer some kind of science-based rebuttal.

James Gillies, a trained physicist who heads Cern’s communications department, said Nielsen’s idea was an interesting theory “but we know it doesn’t happen in reality”.

He explained that if Nielsen’s predictions were correct then whatever was stopping the LHC would also be stopping high-energy rays hitting the atmosphere. Since scientists can directly detect many such rays, “Nielsen must be wrong”, said Gillies.

He and others also believe that although such ideas have an element of fun, they risk distracting attention from the far more amazing ideas that the LHC will tackle once it gets going.

The Higgs boson, for example, is thought to give all other matter its mass, without which gravity could not work. If the LHC found the Higgs, it would open the door to solving all kinds of other mysteries about the origins and nature of matter. Another line of research aims to detect dark matter, which is thought to comprise about a quarter of the universe’s mass, but made out of a kind of particle that has so far proven impossible to detect.

However, perhaps the weirdest of all Cern’s aspirations for the LHC is to investigate extra dimensions of space. This idea, known as string theory, suggests there are many more dimensions to space than the four we can perceive.

At present these other dimensions are hidden, but smashing protons together in the LHC could produce gravitational anomalies, effectively tiny black holes, that would reveal their existence.

Some physicists suggest that when billions of pounds have been spent on the kit to probe such ideas, there is little need to invent new ones about time travel and self-sabotage.

History shows, however, it is unwise to dismiss too quickly ideas that are initially seen as science fiction. Peter Smith, a science historian and author of Doomsday Men, which looks at the links between science and popular culture, points out that what started as science fiction has often become the inspiration for big discoveries.

“Even the original idea of the ‘atomic bomb’ actually came not from scientists but from H G Wells in his 1914 novel The World Set Free,” he said.

“A scientist named Leo Szilard read it in 1932 and it gave him the inspiration to work out how to start the nuclear chain reaction needed to build a bomb. So the atom bomb has some of its origins in literature, as well as research.”

Some of Cern’s leading researchers also take Nielsen at least a little seriously. Brian Cox, professor of particle physics at Manchester University, said: “His ideas are theoretically valid. What he is doing is playing around at the edge of our knowledge, which is a good thing.

“He is pointing out that we don’t yet have a quantum theory of gravity, so we haven’t yet proved rigorously that sending information into the past isn’t possible.

“However, if time travellers do break into the LHC control room and pull the plug out of the wall, then I’ll refer you to my article supporting Nielsen’s theory that I wrote in 2025.”

This weekend, as the interest in his theories continued to grow, Nielsen was sounding more cautious. “We are seriously proposing the idea, but it is an ambitious theory, that’s all,” he said. “We already know it is not very likely to be true. If the LHC actually succeeds in discovering the Higgs boson, I guess we will have to think again.”

From: TIMES online
Author:Jonathan Leake

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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