This is interesting. Just a few hours ago I watched a Science Channel show about the LHC. Brian Cox (of course) was talking about the Big Bang, and
how it was only just after that event that Higgs bosons could exist. After a few milliseconds, their large mass (and thus inherent instability) would
make them degrade into smaller, more-stable particles. And I thought to myself, "Hm. What if that was the only time they were supposed
exist? What if making one right now in this universe would be a major mistake?" As in, if they actually ended up making one inside ATLAS or something
for even the slightest fraction of a femtosecond, it would create a paradox far more heinous than that grandfatherly one. It's even possible that
spawning a single Higgs boson now would create
the Big Bang all those billions of years ago... thus making the universe its own grandpa.
Now, I hadn't tied time travel into it, but now that I've seen this it makes sense. It isn't someone
screwing with the past, it isn't
really "time travel," but... look. Time is an aspect of the universe that we don't understand. The same is true of the Higgs field, its bosons,
gravity, magnetism, and a myriad other things. There could easily be natural processes
whose effects travel backwards through time. An event
triggers a process that proceeds into the past and cancels out whatever event triggered it. It's the same as saying, "The creation of a Higgs boson
inside the ATLAS detector on Sep. 20th, 2008 initiated a negative-duration energy pulse in the LHC ring which added enough extra current into the
circuit on Sep. 19th, 2008
to cause an electrical connection to arc over to the nearby aluminum casing and melt a hole in it, releasing all the
helium in that sector and..." you know the rest. From our Sep. 19th point of view, it would simply look like a random mechanical failure, wouldn't
it? Let me just quote something, right out of a CERN press release about it
The LHC commissioning team had taken advantage of a suspension of beam operation to test the magnets at a high current of more than 9000 amps.
These essential electrical tests began in June 2007 and all the other sectors passed with flying colours. This was the last circuit of the last sector
to be tested, making its failure all the more frustrating.
Awful big coincidence, huh? The biggest machine ever built, with more genius-level designers than any other machine, and tested to within an inch of
its life for years
before they start trying to use it for real, and it just... mysteriously fails?
Because of a faulty electrical
connection? And just after passing all its operational tests??
Bite the other leg, mate; it's got salsa on.
However! The energies the LHC will be capable of (7 tera-electron-volts, which is a lot) are nowhere near what nature herself can do. Every moment of
the day, particles traveling at the speed of light collide with Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field. I don't know how many TeV they can be, but it
must be huge. If a 7-TeV collision can create a Higgs boson, then they're constantly being created just above our heads. No boom today. Boom
tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.
So how do I reconcile those two beliefs? Well... there could be things happening inside the collision points that don't
happen up in space.
The LHC ring is far faaaaaar
colder than any other point in this galaxy, for one thing. It's in a near-perfect vacuum, unlike the space over
our heads. Maybe ozone molecules moderate the collisions and keep Higgses from forming, or something, I don't know. I can only think back on human
history, noting all the times someone thought
they knew what they were doing when they didn't. "We know we don't know everything, but we
like we do!" Humans...