Large Hadron Collider


I really couldn't care less about the LHC and the Higgs Boson. Let's face it, this is a multi-billion euro project to get someone a Nobel Prize. The Higgs Boson is predicted by the Standard Model. If the LHC disproved its existence, that would be interesting, and surprising. But nobody is going to be surprised if it is found. And only a relative handful of people are going to be interested in the mass of the Higgs.

I did get a kick out of Michio Kaku's article in the Wall Street Journal. He claims the LHC does not pose a danger to humanity through the creation of mini black holes:
Third, these mini black holes are unstable and decay much too quickly to do any damage. These subatomic black holes simply evaporate away (via something called Hawking radiation) faster than the blink of an eye.
So how does he know that? Has he observed Hawking radiation? No. Has anyone? No. He knows because that's what the laws of physics we understand tell us. Those laws of physics also tell us the Higgs boson exists. So what are those billions of euros being spent on again?

He also writes some nonsense about the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC):

But why, some ask, is this machine being built in Europe, and not the U.S.? President Ronald Reagan originally wanted to build a much larger machine, called the Super Conducting Super Collider, outside Dallas, Texas, to maintain U.S. leadership in advanced physics. Congress allotted $1 billion to dig a huge circular hole for the machine. But Congress got cold feet and cancelled it in 1993. Then Congress gave physicists another $1 billion to fill up the hole! As a consequence, Congress guaranteed that leadership in advanced physics would pass from the U.S. to Europe.
In fact, the SSC had already cost $2 billion when it was killed. Further, the original cost estimate had ballooned from $4.4 billion in 1987 to over $12 billion in 1993.

I've never heard that bit about $1 billion to fill in the hole. If true, it says a lot about the eagerness of physicists to squander taxpayer money.

I don't buy that bit about American vs. European science either. Does he really think that the location of these devices is so important? What percent of the SSC research would be conducted by Americans? Has he looked around the Physics department at his university lately?

The way I see it, if Europe want to spend billions on these physics experiments, I wish them well. As far as I can tell, I will reap any reward (what exactly? scientific knowledge?) as much as any European, and it won't cost me a dime.