So the LHC got switched on. Its got some good publicity on the Internut. Right now the latest post by Quantum Survivor is the WordPress “Hawt Post” and the Google front page has a cartoon of the LHC !! My Edinburgh PP chums are in LHCb. Franz Muheim sent round a link to what the data looks like in the LHCb RICH detectors. Apparently 140,000 photons were detected in this one event.
Here is a really nice BBC video link. The official CERN press release is here. And of course there is plenty of nice material at the STFC web site. And you might want to catch the rather silly LHC rap. (Got this link from Adrian Hill.) The “related videos” you will find there are a hoot. If you have ten minutes to spare you can find out how Nostradumus predicted that the LHC will destroy the world.
So far the world hasn’t been destroyed. I’m glad about that, as I have some plans this weekend.
Oh learned ones: what is the shortest interval between discovery (or confirmation of theory) and a Nobel prize? How long before they expect to find or rule out the God particle? And how old is your dear Professor Higgs?
Don’t know, couple of years I guess, and seventy nine. He’s pretty fit though and can be spotted hiding from reporters in Edinburgh New Town cafes.
“So far the world hasn’t been destroyed”
How do you know? Perhaps it was destroyed and some future alien civilisation has reconstructed your consciousness from satellites which were still transmitting this blog and it is they who are answering this blog.
Well Tony, maybe the Matrix wasn’t really a movie, but a documentary PRETENDING to be a movie. Meanwhile, there was a rare sighting of Peter Higgs on Newsnight last night . Enjoy.
Don’t think it’s the record, but giant magnetoresistance was discovered in 1988 and got the 2007 prize. What is impressive about it, though, is that it made it to full commercialization and revolutionized an industry within ten years of discovery. One suspects that the Higgs boson may take a little longer to find a commercial application (assuming it is there to be found).
LHC got good publicity all over the place, for days. I haven’t ever seen such a long running, positive, blue sky science story. Has anyone else?
Indeed, and to crown it all I have just watched Brian Cox giving a firm yet polite face to face spanking to Sir David King on Newsnight over his less than positive comments about curiosity driven science.
Well done that man
Andy, I suspect the ‘general public’ were largely left rather bemused by today’s events. Still, it was good to see CERN receive such universal media attention, particularly from BBC Radio 4’s Big Bang Day. In addition to the black hole hysteria, there has been widespread adverse publicity about the cost of LHC including an editorial in today’s Research Fortnight, plus criticism by no less than Sir David King (President, British Association for the Advancement of Science!). Brian Cox did a sterling effort facing up to Sir David and Jeremy Paxman on tonight’s Newsnight.
Excellent. Sorry I missed it. Will see what iPlayer can do to make my evening, too.
I think high temperature superconductivity has the recent record for shortest time from discovery to Nobel prize.
On a slight tangent – was in a discussion today on what was the most boring result the LHC could produce. Apparently the answer is a relatively low mass Higgs and nothing else. If that happens particle physics is stuck.
Paul – the Research Fortnight Editorial poses questions that seriously need addressing. Its not “is particle physics a waste of money” – because it isn’t – but “have further advances become implausibly expensive” ? How about putting the money into dark matter searches and neutrino astrophysics ? Meanwhile, such worrying is a bit churlish – the LHC is here now, and it will do some great science.
Brian Cox giving Sir David King the aforementioned “firm yet polite face to face spanking” on Wednesday’s Newsnight can be viewed on iPlayer:
Skip to 41:05.
Gosh wasn’t David King poor. The problem is that his poor advocacy and lack of ideas is detracting from efforts to understand and ameliorate climate change, which is a real problem which needs real solutions, but not by stopping doing research into fundamental science, but by behaving in responsible ways in all fields (commercial, military arts, and yes, in science). But people like David King are enough to push one into the Lomberg camp, or even further into the far-right Daily Mail reading climate change denialist camp.
This iPlayer episode gets another “good grief!” from me. Next question: what is the record for “most important appearance on Newsnight in years” to knight of the realm? I feel moved to start a Downing Street petition to get that young man suitably rewarded, though King was an easy target. Now back to my Daily Mail…..
In reply to Mike Merrifield: “giant magnetoresistance was discovered in 1988 and got the 2007 prize. What is impressive about it, though, is that it made it to full commercialization and revolutionized an industry within ten years of discovery”, I have to comment on the outrageous fact that 2 people got the Nobel for GMR, leaving a 3rd vacant slot which could so easily have been occupied by the one person who, by common consent, made GMR into a practical technology. Without his work, GMR would never have been considered interesting enough to come anywhere near a Nobel. This man was Stuart Parkin, and I am exremely proud to say he was in my undergraduate class. But instead of self-indulgently dabbling in astronomy, he got on and changed the world. The only comparable injustice perpetrated by the Nobel lot was when they passed over Fred Hoyle.
Having witnessed at first hand the outrage when Sir Peter Mansfield got the Nobel prize for MRI, which included full-page advertisements in the New York Times by the wronged party, it is clear that the awards generate irritation that puts my own occasional displays of petulance to shame. However, since allegedly the other likely recipient of the prize in that case was passed over because of his creationist views, perhaps some readers of this blog might not be altogether opposed to some exclusions.
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