a reply to: peppycat
Well in reality most of the research at the LHC is basically attempting to achieve conditions similar to those present at the Big Bang, truth is that
despite the power of the device we don't quite get there.
Scientifically they are trying to understand the fundamental laws and forces that govern the universe. We have a big theory which is probably one of
the greatest achievements of modern science known as The Standard Model of Particle Physics.
This model describes the fundamental interactions that occur in nature today. Using the model I can say "What happens when I fire an electron at
particle X" and the model will predict a plethora of outcomes with a probability associated with each. If i was to perform this experiment, I would
find the model and the reality very close.
So if we know it? why bother?
Well the model is not complete, it contains parameters we do not fully understand and there are still inaccuracies at the higher energy scales. There
are also some very glaring problems with our observations and theoretical models in a couple of places... these are
Neutrino physics - Predicted to be massless, instead they have mass and not only that, but they oscillate in flavour...
Grand Unification - A theory of everything should be able to describe everything moving back to a singular force that governs everything at ultra-high
energy. this theory is not proven, but there is evidence for it. We already know that the operators that govern electromagnetism combine with the weak
force at high energy in order to become the electro-weak force. Well given that two forces do it, why not the other two? Gravity, and the strong
force? This would have great implications for the evolution of the universe.
Matter-anti-matter asymmetry - We look into the night sky and we see matter... but no anti-matter... why? well we don't know, but there has to have
existed a difference between the property of matter and anti-matter somewhere in the standard model. If we can figure that out, we can answer this big
looming question. The search for it is in Charge Parity violation, currently, all measurements of CP violating processes do not give the amplitude
required to produce a matter dominated universe.
Dark Matter - One of the simplest dark matter models is that of the weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP), if it is a particle that couples to
the standard model, we have hope of creating it. This could be in the form of a super partner akin to Supersymmetry (that isn't actually 100% ruled
out by the way). This would answer another enormous question as to the formation and structure of the universe.
The Higgs - The Higgs was the proposed carrier of Mass, analogous to the photon being the force carrier of the electromagnetic field, the higgs is an
excitation of that field to produce a particle. The higgs field theoretically gives mass to all particles, and such, the discovery of the Higgs is
quite an amazing achievement. BUT it doesn't stop there. there are theories that say it is possible to have different numbers and types of higgs , so
the search for those continues.
Sooooo these are the big questions...
Now where do black holes and extra-dimentions come into this? Well, these come in the form of fringe theories and researchers looking for oddities in
the data that show signs of physics beyond the standard model that might hint at something totally new. Black holes are part of string theory
predictions of which we have resounding evidence is not correct (the prediction isnt correct) but for some reason the media LOVE to still talk about
it. Extra-dimensions in the most simple form is often a way of trying to tie in gravity to the standard model but it can also be mechanisms for things
like CP violation... So it is not at all in any way a primary physics goal, to look into alternate dimensions, it really is theory on the fringes.
Basically media likes doom porn more than it does science. iv seen it happen, iv been interviewed for a news paper for the experiment I work for... I
got asked standard questions of why i think it is interesting etc, then i got asked if we can create black holes or if there is any danger for the
planet at the LHC (Despite the experiment actually being nothing to do with the LHC)
The history behind blackholes and the LHC actually goes back to the Tevatron in the US when a biologist who liked to read papers read a sting theory
paper (which i guarantee you he didnt understand), but what he did understand was from the paper was - High energy -> Black holes.... black holes ->
He then went to the media and 40 years later we are still talking about it like it is something new.
People need to understand that the real outcome of this pursuit of knowledge is that lots of technological developments must be performed before we
can build these devices. These developments are often small and change nothing on the grand scheme of things. Other times these solutions have huge
implications for peoples day to day life. Early adoption of computers back in the early days fell into two categories. 1) Military simulation of
aircraft and nuclear devices and 2) Particle physics
So you could argue that the reason we have such nice computing technology is in some part thanks to science, and not just the science of killing each
I do just get a little bit saddened when people perpetuate garbage about science. I understand the points made about waisting money but at the same
time i disagree also. Science spending is tiny in comparison to almost all other forms of government spending. So why pick on the guy who is actually
trying to advance the knowledge of mankind? We kick that person and want to cut his/her funding, and yet we don't seem to mind that the wealthiest,
most greedy, perhaps even evil people in the world are the ones who get the highest benefits / cost the taxpayer the most money... and yet... we don't
appear to care too much... oh but that guy in the labcoat... GET HIM!
Id love to solve world hunger and the homeless... but... while ever an organization such as the catholic church is in existence, i believe that
organization can get cut out first before science gets cut. It is one of the most wealthy establishments in the world, it preaches against materialism
and at the same time is disgustingly opulent, IT could solve a great deal of world hunger if it wanted to... but... it doesnt want to. It says it
does, and does a tiny but... but it doesn't really practice what it preaches.