Geek alert: the Large Hadron Collider (“LHC”), making its debut this year, is the world’s largest particle accelerator. Built by CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research), the LHC is a 27 km particle accelerator near Geneva, running through both France and Switzerland. As noted in the NYT, the LHC “will smash together subatomic particles at a rate just short of the speed of light in search of new forms of matter and new laws of physics.”
Some have objected to the LHC as creating an unnecessary risk of, um, destroying the world, such as by creating a micro black hole that swallows the planet. Several LHC opponents have filed a federal lawsuit seeking delay of its operation, and the government is seeking dismissal. Ultimately, it’s somewhat moot, as the LHC makes it official debut on “Red Button Day,” Sept. 10, about a week after the court hears the motion to dismiss.
Although I love physics, my physics knowledge is more of the “wouldn’t warp travel be really cool” variety. So I don’t know how risky the LHC really is. However, I can say with more confidence that this rap video explaining the operation of the LHC, apparently done by folks connected to CERN, is pretty entertaining (if you’re a physics geek, that is):
Bonus assignment: check out PBS’ program The Elegant Universe, a three-hour miniseries on the development of physics string theory.
H/T on rap vid: SlashDot