Does the Large Hadron Collider really help?

The physicist - Comment on 2011 October 10

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2011 October 10
Once you find the right principles to describe nature at the very highest energies, all else follows. Read more:

Today I read an article, which is a book review about a science book written by a professor of physics, for a popular audience. It is also about where physics might be headed now.

I am now just quoting from the article because the excerpts are informative:


So where is physics headed? Before grappling with this question, it might be wise to ask first where physics is. And the cynical answer is, about where it was in the 1970s. That was when the finishing touches were put on the so-called Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model describes, in a single mathematical framework, the basic constituents of nature and three of the four known forces that govern their interactions: electromagnetism; the “strong” force, which holds the nucleus of the atom together; and the “weak” force, which causes radioactive decay. The Standard Model is not particularly elegant; indeed, it’s something of a stick-and-bubble-gum contraption. But in the decades since it was formulated, it has predicted the result of every experiment in particle physics, and with terrific accuracy.

There is one obvious problem with the Standard Model. It leaves out the fourth force of nature, the earliest one to be discovered and the one with which we’re most familiar: gravity. Nobody has yet figured out how to describe gravity in the same language - the language of quantum mechanics - the Standard Model uses to describe the other three forces. So we need a separate theory for gravity: Einstein’s general relativity theory.

Some physicists of a conservative kidney, like Freeman Dyson, are reasonably content with this division of labor. Let the Standard Model handle the small stuff (atoms on down), they say, and general relativity handle the massive stuff (stars on up). Never mind that the two theories give inconsistent answers at extreme energies, where very small things can also be very massive; we can’t observe such energies anyway.

But other physicists insist that an entirely new framework must be found, one that would transcend the Standard Model by putting all four forces on the same theoretical footing. Only then, they argue, will we understand how nature behaves at energies like those that prevailed at the Big Bang, when the four forces acted as one. The best candidate for such a unifying framework seems to be string theory.

String theory is a top-down approach to progress in physics – total revolution from above. Once you find the right principles to describe nature at the very highest energies, all else follows. The problem with string theory is that so far at least, it makes no testable predictions. Since string theorists are working in the dark, experimentally speaking, some say they are not really doing science, but rather pure mathematics.

The alternative is a bottom-up approach - gradual reform from below. And this brings us back to Lisa Randall. She knows as well as her string-theorist colleagues do that the Standard Model can’t be the whole story. At best, it’s a low-energy approximation of the Truth. But she prefers to hew closely to the available experimental data, using those data to resolve puzzling features of the Standard Model and to guess how it might be extended to energies just beyond its ken - the sort of energies that, she hopes, will be attainable soon in the Large Hadron Collider.

This is not to say that Randall has no truck with string theory. Indeed, she has exploited one of its central ideas - that space might have extra, hidden dimensions - as part of an ingenious bottom-up proposal (worked out with Raman Sundrum) to resolve a longstanding mystery about the Standard Model, known as the hierarchy problem: Why do the elementary particles it describes have such wildly arbitrary masses? Related to this is a second mystery: Why do these particles have any mass at all?

And here’s where the Large Hadron Collider had better help. At the very least, this magnificent machine - the biggest ever built, and quite possibly the most picturesque (rating a photo spread in Vanity Fair) - is expected to blast into existence the Higgs boson. This is the long-sought missing ingredient of the Standard Model, the one that (if it really does exist) would be the key to understanding how asymmetries arose between forces that ought to look the same.


The just quoted information is for me an indication that the scientists, especially the physicists, do not really understand the world of matter and do not really understand how the natural world functions and this ignorance will produce exactly what the prophecies predict, that they will, with their experiments, destroy the entire surface of the Earth.

And the just quoted information also indicates that the main problem of these scientists is that they do not understand that the physical, material world came into being out of the spiritual kingdom.

All the details of science, especially those of quantum physics, point in this direction. The smaller a particle becomes the more it is away from the world of matter and the closer it is to the spiritual world. And there is nowhere a contradiction because everything, the spiritual world and the material world, consists of the spiritual; the material world is just a special form of the spiritual world, special insofar as it is temporary and will become again completely spiritual.

“Once you find the right principles to describe nature at the very highest energies, all else follows.”

It is all there but they ignore it – but they carry on calling themselves scientists, people who know.

The principles to describe nature at the very highest energies are all there, they do not have to look for them, but the blind, the blind in spirit, cannot see what is right in front of them.

As the prophecies say: As long as you are not spiritually awakened you will not understand nature.


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