This morning The New York Pravda told us all we're 'pozed to know about CERN's Large Hadron Collider, which is designed to test some of the weirder aspects of subatomic structure.
Yup. You have to understand this. We have thermonuclear everything out there in DARPA/ D.o'D. land, we have nuclear reactors producing electricity about every major city, enough plutonium sitting around to wipe all life off the face of the earth, and we have to admit to ourselves when it comes to explaining the details of why- or even how- atoms do the things they do, we're basically arguing how many angels can dance on a pinhead.
Most of the physicists take Feyneman's word for it, or some high priest of science that understands his shorthand. It's not like you can challenge these kind of theories in your kitchen at home.
The same thing goes for gravity. Or time. Or the structure and age of the universe(s).
Aside from the long flowery graphic descriptions designed to make you feel at home yet incompetent next to the kewl kidz of Big Science, two things stand out: 1) it ain't being done here no more (one wonders, why- for about a half second); and, 2) what they might find.
But for the second question, you not only have to know what to ask, you have to follow a couple of links to a short aside article that doesn't appear in print:
What will the new Large Hadron Collider at Cern have to say about string theory, the alleged theory of everything that describes nature as composed of tiny wriggling strings?
String theorists hope that it will confirm supersymmetry, a notion that doubles the kinds of particles in the universe. and was originally invented as part of string theory. String theorists would be gratified by its discovery, but that would not prove their case.
In most cases, to test string theory directly, experimenters would have to build an accelerator to boost particles to the so-called Planck energy, at which “stringy” effects are expected to show up, roughly 10 quadrillion trillion electron volts. That is a quadrillion times the energy of the new hadron collider, which will accelerate protons to energies of seven trillion electron volts before smashing them together.
String theory’s hope for the new collider — and it is a slim one — rests on a long-shot variant of the theory in which gravity is not weaker than the other forces but has just been diluted by extra dimensions of space. In that case, the new collider could produce black holes or bounce particles into other dimensions.
John Ellis, a Cern theorist, said that possibility, which would give physicists a chance to study string theory and quantum gravity in the lab, was “almost too exciting to think about.”
Kind of like finding life on Mars, isn't it? Only some find the potential much more explosive.
Perhaps, our D.o'D. thinks, if they do produce a quantum black hole, better if it is on the other side of the planet.