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Scrutiny
  
A Large over-Hyped Cauldron
The CERN experiment completely deciphered; and the top reasons why the pluses outweigh the, er, pluses
02/10/2008

The Independent, on September 11, 2008, carried this historical and unforgettable heading, “Cern experiment: Machine switched on! No Big Bang!! It works!!!” Damn all you naysayers, the machine ‘works’! And for all you masses who didn’t know whether the end of the world was at hand, allow us to reveal, the obscenely Large over-Hyped Cauldron experiment [LHC?! Alright, it’s called the Large Hadron Collider, but you already knew it, right?] never in reality occurred. Though this article might look completely sourced from Pravda, the sanity-testing ‘official’ Russian news agency [one of their many lead stories this month goes with the heading, ‘Condoleezza Rice’s sexual worries...’], the fact is that all that occurred on that day was the transmission of a beam of protons – once 27 kilometres clockwise, and after a few hours, anti-clockwise. No, not one of the so expected ‘particle-collisions’ took place, and won’t for many months, or even years. In the media statement of Rüdiger Schmidt, one of the LHC commissioners, “This is only the start of the commissioning process. It could take years to fully commission.”

But to clarify the dangers of black-holes eating up this world, is not the reason we write this piece. Beneath the hype and hysteria that surrounded this experiment, in unstated words, for once, many an important statement is being made. For once, here is a seemingly pure scientific endeavour, which outsmarted and out-shadowed the limelight that US was hogging with respect to various scientific inventions and discoveries. For once, after a long time, Europe is steering towards something in which US – grudgingly though – has been forced to take a backseat. For once, Europe – which had gotten used to playing second fiddle to US in almost all geopolitical affairs – has ensured the creation of a passionate agency, CERN [Switzerland’s Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or the European Organisation for Nuclear Research], a pure European endeavour consisting of 20 European members in which US, Russia, Japan and Israel [and even India, for that matter] cleverly have been given only observer status.
Having said that, the CERN experiment might not actually be as abstract as it is being made to seem typically by official US agencies. For the Swiss, who live with the ignominious credit that the last time they made something worthwhile was the cuckoo clock, the LHC and its six experiments go beyond the realm of finding the origin of the universe, or chancing upon the Higgs boson, in other words, the god particle. In fact, one should not be surprised if there is a bigger European urge to find avenues for an unlimited source of energy. And mind you, this urge of energy is not just about making electricity available in every household of every continent, including Africa for a change. In fact, the enormity of energy that the success of the ‘Big Bang’ experiment can unleash can even dwarf the power of nuclear energy.

But some US analysts have tastefully commented that providing energy to the world is too pedestrian a reason for spending $8-9 billion – the estimated cost of building the LHC. We wish to sweetly remind them that three years back, a superb cover story by TIME magazine showed how the ridiculous cost of a more ridiculous Ronald Reagan endeavour called Star Wars crossed an unbelievable $120 billion. Be that as it may, one can already witness a certain amount of disinterest that is emanating from the West, read the US, when it comes to many of the global issues that are plaguing the poorer nations of the world. Destitution in Africa, for example, no more elicits as much sympathy from US as it did before. Not that the aid has stopped, but it seems that the US has reached a conclusion that nothing perhaps can be changed with a continent that is already doomed. Already, the oil price rise has been creating a mass hysteria for sometime now. Thanks to global warming, even Antarctica would ideally be named the New Antarctic Ocean in a decade’s time. And as if the problems of Middle East and those related to China were not enough, unnecessary Georgian chauvinism has woken up Russia once again, increasing the resurgence of the Cold War era. In-between all these, is the smashed up group called the third and fourth-world, which is certainly least concerned with what all the LHC could possibly churn up.

By:- Pathikrit Payne
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