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09 September 2008

world's gonna end / or maybe it's not / Alpine Kat will tell ya why / her rap video's hot / tomorrow's the day they turn this sucker on

image filched from Sabine Hossenfelder and Stefan Scherer. Modified by the Vleeptron Ministry of Bright Shiny Colorful Objects (VMBSCO).

Sabine Hossenfelder is a theoretical physicist in Ontario studying physics beyond the Standard Model. People keep leaving comments on her blog about the Black Hole which the Large Hadron Collider will create. This is pissing her off a lot. She vents:

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I've all said it repeatedly, but here is a summary for those of you with the really short attention span:

1. The LHC will not recreate the Big Bang. I repeat, the LHC will not recreate the Big Bang. No matter what you have read elsewhere. This statement is not only slightly inaccurate, it is simply plainly wrong by at least 19 orders of magnitude. For more details, please read Recreating the Big Bang?

2. The world will not end tomorrow. To produce a black hole at the LHC the world would need to have additional compactified dimensions, a so far completely unconfirmed speculation. Even in the unlikely event this would be the case, these black holes would decay almost immediately, long before they even reached the detector. There is no controversy about this in the community, no matter what you have read elsewhere. We do not know of any consistent theory according to which these black holes, once produced, would pose a risk. For more information, please read our posts The CERN Safety report, Black Holes at the LHC - again, Black Holes at the LHC - what can happen? and Micro Black Holes.

Please do me the favour and do not ask questions without having read the above mentioned posts, because I am really tired of repeating the same points over and over again. It is really not that hard to understand, just give it a try.

It is quite ironic that I spoke about these two examples in my talk yesterday to explain how difficult communication between scientists and the public can be.

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Go HERE to see this charming rap video, which has apparently been viewed 3.885 x 10^209 times. But here are the lyrics. It was written, and the video produced, by CERN science writer Kate McAlpine, a.k.a. "Alpine Kat."

Large Hadron Rap

Twenty-seven kilometers of tunnel under ground
Designed with mind to send protons around
A circle that crosses through Switzerland and France

Sixty nations contribute to scientific advance

Two beams of protons swing round, through the ring they ride
‘Til in the hearts of the detectors, they’re made to collide
And all that energy packed in such a tiny bit of room
Becomes mass, particles created from the vacuum
And then…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

We see asteroids and planets, stars galore
We know a black hole resides at each galaxy’s core
But even all that matter cannot explain
What holds all these stars together – something else remains
This dark matter interacts only through gravity
And how do you catch a particle there’s no way to see
Take it back to the conservation of energy
And the particles appear, clear as can be

You see particles flying, in jets they spray
But you notice there ain’t nothin’, goin’ the other way
You say, “My law has just been violated – it don’t make sense!
There’s gotta be another particle to make this balance.”
And it might be dark matter, and for first
Time we catch a glimpse of what must fill most of the known ‘Verse.
Because…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.

Antimatter is sort of like matter’s evil twin
Because except for charge and handedness of spin
They’re the same for a particle and its anti-self
But you can’t store an antiparticle on any shelf
Cuz when it meets its normal twin, they both annihilate
Matter turns to energy and then it dissipates

When matter is created from energy
Which is exactly what they’ll do in the LHC
You get matter and antimatter in equal parts
And they try to take that back to when the universe starts

The Big Bang – back when the matter all exploded

But the amount of antimatter was somehow eroded
Because when we look around we see that matter abounds
But antimatter’s nowhere to be found.
That’s why…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

The Higgs Boson – that’s the one that everybody talks about.
And it’s the one sure thing that this machine will sort out
If the Higgs exists, they ought to see it right away
And if it doesn’t, then the scientists will finally say
“There is no Higgs! We need new physics to account for why
Things have mass. Something in our Standard Model went awry.”

But the Higgs – I still haven’t said just what it does
They suppose that particles have mass because
There is this Higgs field that extends through all space
And some particles slow down while other particles race
Straight through like the photon – it has no mass
But something heavy like the top quark, it’s draggin’ its ***
And the Higgs is a boson that carries a force
And makes particles take orders from the field that is its source.
They’ll detect it….

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.

Now some of you may think that gravity is strong
Cuz when you fall off your bicycle it don’t take long
Until you hit the earth, and you say, “Dang, that hurt!”

But if you think that force is powerful, you’re wrong.
You see, gravity – it’s weaker than Weak
And the reason why is something many scientists seek

They think about dimensions – we just live in three
But maybe there are some others that are too small to see
It’s into these dimensions that gravity extends
Which makes it seem weaker, here on our end.

And these dimensions are “rolled up” – curled so tight
That they don’t affect you in your day to day life
But if you were as tiny as a graviton
You could enter these dimensions and go wandering on
And they'd find you...

When LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Well, unless the afterlife involves work, the world didn't blow up.

Vleeptron Dude said...

10 September 2008 still has about 3.5 hours to go in Geneva, don't relax yet. I think I saw some cheesy TV news channel like Fox show a few seconds of somebody's Computer Animation Of Doom of the Black Hole starting to swallow Earth starting in Geneva.

But truth to tell, they're just running the LHC at half-power to test for bugs, a shakedown cruise. Then they shut down for the winter to save on heating costs, and won't turn it All The Way Up (to 11) until Spring. So we have lots of time to buy bottled water and Spam and the flashlight and radio that cranks and doesn't need batteries.

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That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn - world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs.
Feed it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, no, Ladder start to clatter with fear fight down height.
Wire in a fire, representing seven games, a government for hire and a combat site.
Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing! Fine, then. Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart beat dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right, right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign towers.
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.
Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood letting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no fear cavalier.
Renegade steer clear! A tournament, tournament, a tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide.
Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein.
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

patfromch said...

man on the ground here reporting:
Nothing happened, but Peter Higgs reportedly got a very big kick out of this. The whole event got MASSIVE HUGE media coverage here in CH, DRS2, the local classical/jazz/culture station for CH broadcasted live and I would not be surprised that our beloved version of PBS (SF1 or 2) were als there. What was also not surprising was the fact that quite a lot of religious folks came out of the woodwork and and left comments on various online newspapers. Looks like the War on Science finally arrived in Europe.
Links from local TV or radio and newspapers in various languages on request.

BTW sorry for commenting so late, I sold my notebook and only have acces to the Internet on weekends