Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Large Hadron Collider goes Back to the Future

By Peter Evans, CBCNews.ca

It hasn't been a smooth ride for the Large Hadron Collider.

First, a worker was killed when a 1,200-kilogram cabinet slipped and fell on him. Next, faulty magnets caused a helium leak. And earlier this month, a worker at the site was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist.

A 27-kilometre long circular tunnel buried under the French and Swiss border, the LHC might be the world's most elaborate science experiment.

Essentially a gigantic particle accelerator, the collider is tasked with finding the Higgs boson – a mystery-shrouded theoretical particle that's believed to play a role in giving matter its mass.

Scientists believe the Higgs was present in the nanoseconds following the Big Bang. Among other tests, the LHC hopes to recreate those conditions to prove that the Higgs actually exist.

It was fired up for the first time in September 2008. When that happened, more than a few people were relieved to discover that the Earth was not immediately swallowed into a massive black hole, which was one of the more doomsday-like prophecies of what the collider might cause.

The project was halted shortly thereafter for a series of technical mishaps and it's been shuttered ever since. But as officials prepare to fire it up again, some intriguing new research suggests the project is doomed to fail no matter what preparations are made.

Two scientists have hypothesized in a series of papers that the LHC's stated aim of finding the Higgs boson might be so abhorrent to nature that mysterious forces are traveling back through time and sabotaging the experiment before it can succeed.

"The potential production of a large number of Higgs particles at a certain future time would cause a pre-arrangement such that Higgs particle production can be avoided," theoretical physicists Holger Bech Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya rather clumsily wrote in a recent research paper.

Unlike the experiment itself, reaction to the paper has been predictable. Blogger mouths were agape. The New York Times chimed in.

Despite the attention, the two aren't proposing a possible solution to the problem. Indeed, if the powers that be are bound and determined to see the LHC fail, there isn't much humanity can do about it, they concede. Their proposal was merely to implement a sort of random-number generator via card drawing into the overall LHC experiment.

If an impossibly rare sequence of numbers came up, it could be construed as proof of high-level meddling, they posited. "When the Higgs particles are to be produced, we must carry out a retest to elucidate whether there could be an influence from the future," the physicists wrote.

A science experiment being sabotaged by its own future self?

That two respected scientists would put forward a theory reminiscent of Marty McFly's journey through time to ensure his parents fall in love speaks to the collider's intrigue in the scientific community and the world at large.

In his book Angels and Demons, novelist Dan Brown wrote of a secret society stealing anti-matter form CERN, the agency that operates the collider, and using it to make a bomb to destroy the Vatican.

Confusion was widespread enough that CERN went as far as publishing an FAQ on their website establishing that, no, in fact, they are not in the midst of developing a weapon thousands of times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A looming nuclear apocalypse notwithstanding, the LHC wouldn't be the first ambitious science project to have trouble getting off the ground. The Hubble Space Telescope suffered through a number of missteps before being successfully launched in 1990. And the highway of alternative energy is littered with the carcasses of hyped developments that never panned out.

Leaving aside any nuisances that might develop from ripping a hole in the space-time continuum, perhaps there's a good side to the sudden viability of time travel.

The creator making his or her presence felt could open up a whole new branch of scientific research, for example. String Theory and its effect on the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, maybe?

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

DF Lewis

UK

The CERN ZOO fiction book anthology (June 2009) is relevant to the back from the future sabotage or 'suicide'.

Posted October 20, 2009 12:15 PM

Dano

Victoria

Ugh... really? Sabotaged from the future? Respected scientists?!! I propose that the earth in the parallel universe next to ours built one and it actually DID create a black hole, which destroyed their world, and the subsequent energy shockwave shook a bolt loose on our collider, causing it to misfire. Bam. Done. Haha!

Posted October 21, 2009 06:39 PM

?????

toronto

This to me means something like....

There is no mass in the future OR particles in the space we have not entered in have been reflected back to us.

I would still believe infinitesimal neutron like particles is what gives mass. They would exist in a range of particles. A specific exact particle that does this is very unlikely !

Posted October 31, 2009 05:47 PM

RandyE

Oh so that's why I never win the lottery, I'm being sabotaged by the future impoverishment of humanity due to climate change. Okay then lets scrap the LHC and work on those gigantic cracks in the antarctic ice shield.

I think the Higgs boson is pure form, representing the 5th physical dimension, but don't quote me on that, I have no credentials in physics other than my imagination.

Posted November 4, 2009 12:15 PM

MathMan

BC

The future will continue to prevent the experiment from happening until Dec 12, 2012...

Posted November 5, 2009 08:46 AM

susan thomas lloyd george

oxford

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS DESCENDED FROM H. G. WELLS THE WRITER AND I AM DESCENDED FROM THE WELSH WIZARD DAVID LLOYD GEORGE. DURING ONE OF OUR FASCINATING CONVERSATIONS WE CAME TO EXACTLY THE SAME CONCLUSION AS THE SCIENTISTS BUT ARRIVED AT IT VIA INTUITION RATHER THAN HIGH LEVEL MATHS STILL WITH ANCESTORS LIKE OURS WE ARE ENDOWED WITH MASSIVE TALENT AND CAN SAY THAT THE PARTICLE HAS TO REMAIN HIDDEN IN A SUPERNATURAL FASHION.

Posted November 25, 2009 05:31 PM

reaper

america

well if people from the future came back to sabotage the project they must have been alive to come back so i cant see any problem ...what do ya know... we have a future....

Posted December 22, 2009 09:58 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

CBC IN ITALY 36 coffins in a gymnasium: An Italian town mourns its earthquake victims
In the Italian town of Ascoli Piceno, 36 coffins laid out in a cavernous gymnasium bear the remains of some of the more than 280 people who died in Wednesday's earthquake.
The burkini is an option, not oppression, say those opposed to ban
The recent court decision overturning one French town's ban on the burkini is unlikely to put the debate about the body-concealing swimwear to rest. Some of those who have decried the ban say all the controversy won't stop women from wearing what they want.
Trump's doctor took 5 minutes to pen report dubbing candidate's health 'astonishingly excellent'
Donald Trump's personal physician told NBC News he needed just five minutes to write a glowing public assessment of Trump's health as a limousine waited to carry the letter back to Trump.
more »

Canada »

Liberals commit $450M, up to 600 troops to UN peacekeeping missions video
Canada will commit roughly half a billion dollars towards UN peace support operations over the next few years, a commitment that includes hundreds of troops and police officers. The announcement is being made at an air base in Bagotville, Que.
'This is not OK': N.L. newspaper uses front page to blast sexist 'trolls'
The St. John's Telegram — which calls itself the People's Paper — used its front page Friday to respond to recent online harassment of one of its female journalists.
Premier Rachel Notley says her government may change course if budget plans don't work
With a record deficit approaching $11 billion, Premier Rachel Notley for the first time on Friday said her government may have to "re-calibrate" its plan to deal with the worst economic downturn the province has seen in 30 years.
more »

Politics »

Tony Clement takes aim at bridge tolls, CBC in bid to become leader
Conservative Party leadership candidate Tony Clement says it's time to rebuild the party's relationship with Atlantic Canadians.
Liberals commit $450M, up to 600 troops to UN peacekeeping missions video
Canada will commit roughly half a billion dollars towards UN peace support operations over the next few years, a commitment that includes hundreds of troops and police officers. The announcement is being made at an air base in Bagotville, Que.
Stephen Harper leaves politics, gives up House of Commons seat video audio
Nearly a year after his federal election defeat, former prime minister Stephen Harper finally signalled the resignation of his House of Commons seat Friday, ending a career in politics that spanned more than two decades.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Video Britney Spears hitches a ride for James Corden's Carpool Karaoke
​Oops! James Corden did it again, sharing his Carpool Karaoke commute with Britney Spears on Thursday's edition of The Late Late Show.
Lawyer for Making a Murderer accused wants blood, DNA evidence tested
The attorney for a Wisconsin inmate featured in the hit Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer filed a motion Friday seeking permission to perform extensive scientific tests on evidence she believes will show he's innocent.
Dancing on a different stage: the balletic inspiration behind PS4's Bound video
Professional dancer Maria Udod helps translate her art into a playable character in Bound, a new game for the PlayStation 4.
more »

Technology & Science »

Dig reveals surprise about 'super-henge' near Stonehenge
A dig where researchers last year said they had detected a "major new prehistoric stone monument" buried near Stonehenge has revealed something quite different than expected.
Video Brazilian plant's 'sneeze' caught on video video
A plant in the Brazilian rainforest and one discovered fossilized in amber in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are similar because it appears the two release pollen in an explosive way, like a sneeze, researchers say.
Summer 2016 an 'exceptional' year for biodiversity in St. Lawrence River video
From North Atlantic right whales to narwhals to sunfish, this summer has proven to be a banner year for biodiversity in the St. Lawrence River.
more »

Money »

Analysis Janet Yellen, Jackson Hole and the anti-Davos
A fishing hole in the middle of Wyoming might not be the first place that leaps to mind when one thinks of venues for major world economic conferences, but the bucolic scene of Jackson Hole is just that. Once a year, the global elite descend on the area to listen to what the U.S. central banker has to say.
McDonald's Happy Meal mistake, and Rio's poor Olympic ROI: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
From more details on how the Fort McMurray fire keeps burning red ink, to some valid questions about the costs of Canada's gold, silver and bronze medals, it was a colourful week in business news. The CBC's Jacqueline Hansen gets you caught up on the week that was in her video recap.
Canola dispute looms over Canadian PM's visit to China
A long-standing dispute involving Canadian canola exports to China threatens to overshadow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to the economic superpower that begins next week.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Recap Jays light up Twins with a Martin, Smoak show to reclaim 1st in AL East video
Justin Smoak broke out of a slump with five runs-batted in, Russell Martin also drove in five and Josh Donaldson hit his 30th homer of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays' offence ignited for a 15-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Blue Jays reacquire catcher Dioner Navarro from White Sox
The Toronto Blue Jays have added depth at catcher for the stretch run by reacquiring veteran switch-hitter Dioner Navarro from the Chicago White Sox.
Preview Novak Djokovic ready to defend U.S. Open title
Friday's U.S. open draw set Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as potential semifinal opponents, while No. 2 Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are in the other half of the bracket.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »