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LHC damaged -- research to stop for two months (wired.com)
36 points by timr on Sept 20, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments



It could of course be the Higgs Boson itself altering the past and preventing the LHC from functioning. If the LHC hasn't hit full speed in ~2 years, we might be looking at the weirdest consequence of physics yet.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2008/08/11/will-...


"The authors reason that any accelerator which surpasses a certain threshold of super-high-energy collisions (thus producing many of these new particles) will never go into operation because it violates some yet-unknown universal law. As evidence, they provide the failed Superconducting Super Collider, which Congress canned in 1993 after spending $2 billion on the project."

Im just going to assume that a system as large and complex as the LHC is just hard to maintain, thats a much better explanation, because it doesn't involve too much unprovable assumptions.


"The authors reason that any accelerator which surpasses a certain threshold of super-high-energy collisions (thus producing many of these new particles) will never go into operation because it violates some yet-unknown universal law. As evidence, they provide the failed Superconducting Super Collider, which Congress canned in 1993 after spending $2 billion on the project." Except that universal law apparently does not apply to whatever mechanism accelerates cosmic rays... So it must be a very selectively universal law... ;-)


How many years would we have to go without finding the Higgs Boson (because of malfunctioning equipment) before the unprovable assumption seems more reasonable? I suspect scientists would be fairly certain about it after 50 years.


I can think of a scenario where this could work, and it's not unreasonable.

Imagine that time is not linear. Imagine that it's something that is similar to matter and space, and we move along it, just like we move in matter and space.

Now, imagine there were some law that would render it completely invalid, i.e, make the item in question break out of this model. If that thing that were to cause an item to break out of the model happens at any point within this 'space' of time, then the item in question would already have broken out of the model, and would never have the chance to be inside of it. So the only things that could possibly exist within the model are things that can NEVER EVER break out of the model.

This is difficult to explain. The assumption is that future time already exists, irrespective of where matter is positioned in future time. Now, if future time already exists, and has already been executed, then if something in future time were to happen that could destroy all of time, then time would never exist, so this thing could never happen! The only way time could exist is if this future event will never happen.

There is only one assumption in my hypothesis there but it is an assumption that is very difficult to prove.


But it is strange, isn't it? I would not be surprised if they coudn't get LHC to work in the end. I don't say the reason will be Higgs Boson altering it's past, though. But considering what this LHC stuff is all about, I wouldn't rule out unprovable assumptions.


I wouldn't rule out unprovable assumptions.

You can't prove them.


I wouldn't be surprised either, but the explanation would be bad design. And science is all about ruling out unprovable assumptions.


Yeah but the temporal explanation is far more entertaining.


I'm willing to entertain, for the moment, the idea that some particularly high-energy collisions are capable of reaching back in time and preventing themselves from happening.

But there are easier ways to do it than to reach weeks back in time and blow up a macroscopic object like a transformer. Far more likely that the trajectories of the particles themselves would be altered to just miss.

Now, if they were to actually start up the LHC, run the beams into each other, and find that all the particles were missing each other -- well, that would be really interesting.

In the meantime I'm pretty tired of the fact that every article about the LHC feels the need to throw in the fact that some moron thinks it might destroy the world.


> I'm willing to entertain, for the moment, the idea that some particularly high-energy collisions are capable of reaching back in time and preventing themselves from happening.

Doesn't make sense, to reach back in time to prevent itself from happening, it'd have to happen.


Imagine a stream of water sliding down a string, every once in a while a droplet falls off the string, if the string is our worldline, the droplet is the world where the LHC is fully operational.

//actually that's total bullshit, the higgs boson likes it's privacy that's all.


I only said I was willing to entertain it, I didn't promise it would make sense.


Cool, now the world won't end until we all get at least a few new episodes of The Office.


Who needs the Office when we have: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM ; I know I don't! ;)


I stopped finding rap parodies abut nerdy topics funny about 10 years ago. The Office, on the other hand, never will be cliche.


You laugh now, but, taking into account the shutdown of the SSC, how many more failures would have to occur before you started thinking "anthropic principle"? (I mean this as an exercise in probability theory, not advocating that the time to start thinking it is now.)


A lot more than expected? I don't see how I can compute that without knowing a lot more about the design. I think it's safe to put an upper limit at 50 yrs of trying.


Wow. I am amazed. 17 miles of tunnels and super conducting magnets and only one section malfunctioned (yet).


More accurately: only one section failed in the couple of days that passed since the test run.

Prior to the test run the LHC has been continuously delayed to problems and component failures.




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