Damaso Reyes is a good friend of mine who’s spending some time abroad pursuing a variety of journalistic fellowships. His website The Europeans is filled with interesting images from his journeys. His most recent photoessay is on the world’s largest particle accelerator at CERN currently being built. It will eventually become the world’s largest machine.

I made my way to CERN’s reception area where I was greeted by fellow American Katie Yurkewicz who would be my guide through the world of particle physics. Several people have asked my both how I came to learn about CERN and why I chose to go there to photograph. The simple answers are how couldn’t you have heard about CERN and why wouldn’t you want to go there? Seriously CERN has been in the news for years, especially recently because they are building the world’s largest particle accelerator.

At 27 km in diameter, this will also be the world’s most powerful, allowing the physicists there to smash protons together at close to the speed of light. And it is a great example of European cooperation with scientists from all over the continent, not to mention the world, contributing their knowledge.

Of course you ask why would anyone want to do such a thing? The answer is by doing so the scientists hope to create conditions close to those which existed just after the creation of our universe in order to find some exotic and rare particles like the Higgs Boson, particles which have been theorized as being the smallest and most basic building blocks which make up our universe, but have yet to be found.

I think we’ll never know everything, but the more we know the better off we are.



  1. smartalix says:

    29,

    Once it’s assembled it will be a machine. Right now it’s a bunch of very impressive parts.

    😉

  2. BubbaRay says:

    If we could only decide whether or not the Higgs boson exists — a lot of theories will be going down that black hole.

    Now if only we can discover what dark matter is. First dark matter galaxy discovered:

    http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/dark_matter_galaxy.html

  3. JimR says:

    A black hole is in fact not a hole. It is a sphere of extremely compressed matter.

  4. BubbaRay says:

    #33, JimR, actually, a black hole is a singularity of infinitesimal size. It’s the event horizon around the black hole that is nearly spherical, depending on the black hole’s mass, charge and spin.

    There are still many theoretical arguments about the conservation of information (entropy) of light and matter being consumed by a black hole, but my favorite quote is one from Stephen Hawking, “Black holes have no hair” —

    The Black Hole Has No Hair theorem, which states that no matter what falls into a black hole, the only properties that remain are the total mass, charge, and angular momentum of the object. Thus if, say, an encyclopedia falls into a black hole all the information in the encyclopedia is lost.

    Perhaps a quantum gravity theorem will fix this problem.

    Imagine the entire dvorak.org/blog falling into a black hole. Would the information be retrievable? Would anyone want to retrieve it? 🙂

  5. RBG says:

    If I were King of the forest (Not Queen, not Prince):

    I would have announced that the exact budget equalling the Texas Superconducting Super Collider be dedicated to fixing the ills of personkind.

    From my government’s treasury, I would replace the monies raised by Bono in his efforts to cajole governments and rich dudes alike to do the right thing.

    And then, under legal torture warrant (for the good of the many, of course), I would encourage Bono to instead raise money for scientific research.

    But that’s just me.

    RBG

  6. BubbaRay says:

    Too late to post again, I know. Maybe one person will read this..

    #35, RBG, sorry, all that money will be spent on pulp paper and bandwidth (and adverts) for reporting Paris Hilton’s current predicament and status in prison.

  7. Bob M says:

    The republicans were wrong when they shut down the super conducting super collider. They were wrong when they invaded iraq.

    Of course, the real reason they don’t like science is because it contradicts their stupid belief that the universe was created 6000 years ago. And the real reason they invaded iraq is to create a diversion for the public, and enrich themselves in the process.

    Their dislike of science is much like the Nazi’s campaign aginst ‘Jewish science (read Einstein)’ in the pre-WW2 era.

    Conservative politics and truth do not mix.


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