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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Large Hadron Collider Bosoms!?

I R NOT A SCIENTIST. So I ask silly question

Such a gargantuan cost, for a gargantuan idea that promises - to unlock the secrets of the universe. For an ordinary non scientific dude like me, the question not only straddles those pertaining to cost. The project reportedly cost, if I got my cost-o-meter senses aligned, 4.6bn Swiss francs (approx. $4.4bn, €3.1bn, or £2.8bn as of Jan 2010) for the accelerator and SFr 1.16bn approx. $1.1bn, €0.8bn, or £0.7bn as of Jan 2010). (Wikipedia)

$4.4 Billion US Dollars coming from various sources.


$6.4 Billion US Dollars (Neatorama: 10 Things About the Large Hadron Collider You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask)

Of course, if one were to find somebody willing (and credible enough) to answer that for you with a serious tone and a stern look in the eye, the answer would most likely bend towards research costs, yada, yada, yada, facility upgrades, yada, yada, yada, meta scientific extrapolation via algorithmic yada, yada, yadas.

All of which redound back to the question of why?

Why do many governments support this gargantuan project?
Most importantly what are its practical applications to everyday life?
What is Higgs Bosom, er, Boson - why do we need to find it? What does it do? What can it do to our daily lives? What technologies can it enhance? What consumer products could arise from it?

I suppose, I'm not using the right forceful words here - but it seems to me that the whole endeavor is pretty much akin to discovering reasons for our existence in the same way as the SETI project endeavored to discover sentient beings in outer space. While noble and scientifically progressive, there seems to be something underlying the reasons which is not readily shown to the public's eye.

Scientific cooperation and collaboration on this scale and cost almost always have a direct outcome that must be concretely applied in existing technologies and processes. With the LHC, that is not readily seen. At least with the possible discovery of extraterrestrial life in outer space, the next step would be to communicate with them and quite possibly initiate contact -

No wonder, guys like me, (only with bigger wallets and access to Hollywood stars and producers) conjure all sorts of tales pertaining to the LHC, much to the fear and further confusion of the general public. It would seem, that nobody outside of the scientific community, could readily explain the gravity and import of this project.

If indeed, this project will unlock the secrets of the universe for us to know, then I suppose that the next question will be, what's next if they are successful - or not?

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