Sunday, August 09, 2009

High stakes for CERN's large hadron collider

AP writer ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS has a story on CERN's large hadron collider titled Particle collider: Black hole or crucial machine?. [As to names, see also Higgs Boson Found ]

Within the Higgins article:

CERN has been working since late last year to repair the damage caused by a faulty electrical joint. The breakdown occurred nine days after the spectacular start up of the $10 billion machine last Sept. 10 when beams of subatomic particles were sent around the accelerator in opposite directions.

The problem of September 2008 was attributed to moving too fast:

Michio Kaku, a physics professor at City University of New York who is an outspoken critic of waste in big science projects, defends the CERN collider as a crucial investment.
"The Europeans and the Americans are not throwing $10 billion down this gigantic tube for nothing," Kaku said. "We're exploring the very forefront of physics and cosmology with the Large Hadron Collider because we want to have a window on creation, we want to recreate a tiny piece of Genesis to unlock some of the greatest secrets of the universe."
He said the biggest cause of the "bad accident" last year was "probably due to human error caused by rushing the project."

Of the competition between FermiLab and CERN over Higgs:

In the meantime, Fermilab has a window of opportunity to find the first evidence for the last unseen component of the standard model, the Higgs boson, which is thought to endow other particles with mass, Landsberg says. But Fermilab could only beat the LHC to finding Higgs if the particle turns out to be relatively lightweight, allowing it to be produced reasonably often at the energies Fermilab can probe, he says. from "sign of the times", sott

Remember when Judge Posner noted the inefficiencies of patents as a race? Look to the Higgs boson.


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