(Sung to the tune of Vic Mizzy's theme song for the old television sit com, Green Acres):
CERN'S vision is the place for me,
quark collisions is the life for me,
gluons spreading out so far and wide,
Keep Sandia I want the Swiss countryside...
So might the CERN theme song go, if they had a theme song, which they should, because they need one. At the minimum, they need a Mighty Wurlitzer theater organ to accompany the show. And they need one because, to this layman's eye, "big science" is approaching the comically surreal and is beginning to have that "Green Acres" quality, where the characters in the story are reading the opening credits, and wondering where the letters hanging in the air are coming from.
So why am I on another tear with my conCERNs about CERN? Well, my conCERNs started when I read a book by a scientist describing the machine in terms of religious ecstasy (see my book The Third Way). To read him, you'd almost think the collider was the cathedral at Chartres. It was like reading some scientific Savanarola, "when a coin into the collection plate doth ring, a stream from the synchrotron doth spring," or something like that. In short, my concern with CERN was, and is, that being a quasi-sovereign entity, it set itself up as some sort of "cosmology cartel," with the
college of cardinals teams of scientists interpreting the latest results of their studies experiments for the rest of the world to be duly impressed by and to accede to. Therein lies my first conCERN, for having a monopoly on all copies of the bible and church fathers results of experiments, you and I can hardly run out into our garages, turn on our own hadron colliders, and check them. The fact that we're dealing with a "cosmology cartel" (as I put it in The Third Way) may in part account for why the Protestants China announced it wants to build its own, bigger version. (Cue music: Anything you can do, we can do better; anything you can build, we can build bigger).
Well, not to be outdone by those pesky
Protestants Chinese, CERN, sensing its cosmology cartel might be in some danger of competition, has announced it intends to maintain its meson monopoly by building an even bigger version, according to this BBC story shared by Ms. S.H. and Mr. L.G.:
The graphic in the BBC article says it all, CERN wants a 100km collider, and I find it odd that the graphic depicts its location to run under several interesting terrain features. The cost, as noted in the article, is some twenty billion pounds, all for the following purpose:
The proposal involves digging a new tunnel under Cern and then installing a ring that would initially collide electrons with their positively charged counterparts, positrons.
Stage two would involve colliding protons with electrons.
In other words, they want a collider able to collide matter and anti-matter particles, and then electrons with protons. Think "total annihilation reactions." But wait, there's more:
But observations by astronomers indicated that there was more to the Universe than could be explained by the Standard Model. Galaxies were rotating faster than they should be and the expansion of the Universe is accelerating rather than slowing down. On top of that, the Standard Model cannot explain gravity.
So there must be a deeper process going on, involving yet to be discovered particles. Uncovering them would provide physicists with their much sought after theory of everything, one that would tie together all the forces of nature and unify the twin pillars on which modern physics rests: general relativity and quantum mechanics.
But there's a catch:
The difficulty with Cern's proposals for a larger Large Hadron Collider is that no one knows what energies will be needed to crash large hadrons together to discover the enigmatic, super particles that hold the keys to the new realm of particles.
Cern hopes that its step-by-step proposal, first using electron-positron and then electron-large hadron collisions will enable its physicists to look for the ripples created by the super particles and so enable them to determine the energies that will be needed to find the super particles. (Emphasis added)
Now, you know as well as I do that those unknown energies will be "a lot", and "a lot more" than the current energies of the Large Hadron Collider, and that will probably also mean that those immense magnetic fields in the current Large Hadron Collider will have to become even bigger. And as I've speculated already in conjunction with CERN's little project, it's those large magnetic fields, plus my other speculated possibility that there may be hidden algorithms in its computer selection filters pulling anomalous data and shuffling them to secretive committees for review, that give me pause. Those large magnetic fields, I've speculated, may create large scale resonance effects in the planet, and by implication, outside the planet, and possibly effect systems of planetary scale (like geophysical processes or the weather. In that regard, I've even suggested "hidden data correlation" experiments being conducted in conjunction with this, and speculated on torsion effects and "magnetic precessional wobbles" (to coin a term) in conjunction with it. In fact, I'd be greatly surprised if there were no such data correlation experiments correlating CERN's collider activity and other systems. And now they want to scale it up, and are now talking about looking "for the ripples created by the super particles"... Oh? Ripples in what? Maybe the fabric and lattice-work of space-time itself, maybe, kinda sorta? Well, that would stand to reason, given they've admitted they're also looking for evidence of higher dimensions.
But then there's a real stunner toward the end of the article, because at what point do colliders get so big that the return on investment begins to decline. Indeed, we seem to be in some sort of "collider race" to build the biggest best most smashing
The UK's former Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir David King, has advised the UK government and the European Commission on large funding requests.
He told BBC News that he believed that the escalating costs of conducting basic research in particle physics means that it is now time to carry out a cost-benefit analysis, especially when it was unclear whether the £20bn machine would discover any new particles.
"We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator. And if it doesn't end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back." (Emphasis added)
In other words, the end process of this collider race is to make a collider of planetary size. No potential for planetary-sized resonance effects there folks. But when we're talking about such highly speculative possibilities as magnetic precessional wobbles and anomalouos torsion effects with the current collider, scale that up and you get "what could possibly go wrong?" Already the Earth's magnetic pole is moving so quickly that its affecting positioning systems, and this "purely natural" phenomenon has geophysicists baffled as to why (hint: you might want to consider that the effect is man-made by considering some of these speculative possibilities, and do so before you build an even bigger collider with even more colossal energies and gimongously huge magnetic fields. Don't believe me? Then see this version of the story shared by Mr. P.J.: Next-generation LHC: CERN lays out plans for €21-billion supercollider).
Now, since I've already crawled way off the end of the high octane speculation twig, I might as well state what's really weighing on my mind, because this collider race seems to confirm my suspicion - as is obliquely admitted in the article - that this is about more than just standard particle physics. It's about building systems able to manipulate physical systems of planetary (if not larger) scale.
Or to put it country simple: it's an arms race.
See you on the flip side...