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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

LAST! by Chris M. '12

It's the end of the world as we know it!

Stop doing your homework, don’t worry about papers, don’t pay your bills, don’t make weekend plans, don’t even finish applying to MIT, there’s no point. This is goodbye, this is my last post. I know what you’re thinking “But Chris, why on Earth wouldn’t shirk my responsibilities? What do you mean this is the end?”
Three words friends:
Large.
Hadron.
Collider.
Yes boys and girls, the doomsday device built under the guise of solving physics goes online today (err…technically it’s already been online since this morning, but we’ll ignore that for the sake of sensationalism). In case you aren’t convinced of the collider’s sinister intent, take a look at the thing.

From for blog

Whoa, yea it’s big. In fact it’s the largest single object ever built. Only thing you can’t see is the engine room where they feed it babies, or so I assume. Ok but seriously, what makes this so special? why is it the end of the world? Well in a very simplified nutshell, the LHC seeks to reproduce scenarios similar to the beginning of the universe (read:Big Bang). In doing so they hope to find this one particular particle (hehe that’s fun to say) that can help rationalize gravity on the quantum level, and thus finish the standard model a.k.a The Unified Theory, a.k.a Physics. That’s right, it seeks to finish physics (in which case, I’ll have to switch my major).

The interesting thing is that this thing is so powerful and so totally unprecedented in terms of the reactions that there are possibilities that it could destroy the world in a variety of fashions. Theres even been injunctions filed against starting it up, and death threats against scientists operating the device.

Of course, scientists assure us that there really isn’t anything to worry about, that the probabilities are enormously underwhelming. (Then again, of course they’d say that, after all, if they’re wrong, who’s going to be around to call them liars?) One thing that is agreeable is that the LHC stands poised to change the world. If they’re right, then the Higgs Boson particle will help complete the unified theory, but maybe what’s most exciting is the counter-possibility. If it turns out that there is no particle, that means somewhere we’ve been wrong and it will still foster a huge advance in our understanding of physics. Either way it’s nothing short of breath-takingly exciting (though as a piece of social advice, it’s not really a good topic for party-talk).

Oh and I nearly forgot, the little company who’s in charge of this thing, CERN? Yea,at MIT you can do an IROP (close cousin to the UROP) study there If I’m ever fortunate enough to make it over there while I’m here at MIT, I’ll be sure to let you know what the apocalypse looks like firsthand.

P.S. in light of the dwindling time we have left here on Earth, I propose that instead of being so proud to be the first person to comment, you should all try and be the last person to comment “LAST”

72 responses to “LAST!”

  1. First! says:

    Sorry, the excitement of a first is irresistible!

  2. My physics teacher showed us an animation of what this thing is supposed to do today. But then we couldn’t have a discussion on it because he wanted us to “learn physics”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Welcome, Chris M., to the list of blogs that I stalk. smile

  4. Oasis '11 says:

    Yay new bloggers! :D

    (btw I don’t comment as Chris, so don’t worry – you won’t cause confusion. though I still think rhombus is a good idea) =p

  5. Chris '12 says:

    @Anon

    Excellent pick! I love Cracked.com! it keeps me sane.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do you see why there’s such a rush to being first now? It has a finality to it that “last” and “middle” can’t compete with.

  7. Richard says:

    To answer wesh m.’s question, yes, I remembering reading about something like that. I’m pretty sure that light does bend in a magnetic field (on a minute scale when we try to test it, becuase of its amazing speed) but on a much larger scale, we would see more drastic effects. But in regards to the post, I’m assuming that the thing hasn’t caused the apocolypse yet (since I’m posting this the day after haha). But definitely PLEASE keep me posted if this thing actually “finalizes” the unified theory. Becuase then I, too, would have to change my desired major. =[

  8. Anon says:

    Haha, last for now smile
    It’s kind of amusing to see the paranoia surrounding this thing, actually. I was watching the news today and they were talking about the three major earthquakes today and how they just happened to be on the same day the LHC was turned on, and how maybe the LHC was the reason for the earthquakes.
    Well, no stopping now!

  9. Chris '12 says:

    @Wesh M. & Richard

    Unfortunately, light is composed of an oscillating electric and magnetic field, and thus obeys a principal called linearity. Essentially, two fields don’t change each other, so a light ray will continue through the field without being bent.

    In short, light can’t be bent by magnets, it can however be skewed by gravity.

  10. anonymous says:

    During CPW this past spring, we had the privilege of listening to an MIT student speak about his IROP at Cern. It was simply amazing. I believe that he went there for two summers to work. If I recall correctly, his talk took place during the UROP session (where we also were able to hear the famous Melis talk about her UROP experience). Perspective ’13 students, keep that in mind for CPW next spring if you are admitted. It is certainly worth hearing about!

  11. guys, You are all supposed to be dead, so how come you are still putting in comments.Drop down dead this instant, you are standing in the way of science.

    By the way, I think that the worrld did end this morning.And that we all(excluding My sanity,Man I can’t find it!)got shifted to another parallel universe.

    Come on prove me wrong.(You can’t)

  12. Ahmed says:

    Hey Shannon, don’t steal my joke smile

    Middle.

  13. Kevin says:

    Awesome last post Chris. You proved once again the uniqueness and comedy of an MIT student.

    Onto more important matters, I read somewhere that if a black hole is created, it would take 50 months to devour the whole planet. That’s November 2012, close to the apocalypse date the Mayans predicted…

  14. Ahana says:

    I wish the black hole waits until I have a chance to IROP at CERN. Which is if I get admitted. Which is when I can complete my application in peace. Which is if I dont find myself in a blackhole. So till now, I’m alive. Still alive. Still alive. Still alive.
    Actually I hope they really find the Higgs. Who doesnt like Relativity and QM explained simultaneously and things nice and orderly!

    PS: it’d be cool to get martyred, even though the poor scientists have gone crazy shouting we wont.

  15. Sukrit says:

    You’re going to have a long wait. This test involved unidirectional beams — i.e. no collisions. The orbit isn’t even closed. The first collisions won’t happen for a bit yet, and full-power operation isn’t expected until next year.

  16. Jeremy says:

    You guys are up now! I’ve also been waiting a long time for the LHC to go online.

  17. wesh m says:

    Completely irrelevant question-

    I once asked my teacher whether light would bend in a magnetic field just as it does in a glass slab.and got a really bad scowl. I’ll give $20billion to anyone who answers that.

    Sorry got carried away by the powerful magnets of the LHC.

  18. Ashwath says:

    Yay! New bloggers! I’m waiting for all the other bloggers to turn up as well…

  19. inteleyes says:

    Welcome and thank you for blogging about this. I didn’t get to read the whole newspaper article this morning and I actually said that someone at MIT will do a post and fill me in. I look forward to your future entries.

  20. Kasey says:

    Nice, informative post.
    Also, an IROP at CERN!?!? Now there’s something to drool over.

  21. Africa says:

    The LHC is pretty cool. I am actually eager to see what will turn up there. It’s not only the physics that we should be interested in, but also the engineering tools and gadgets that are an immediate ramifications of such gigantic machine.

    Wait a minute I think I see something very very black, oh it’s only night–silly me, I thought the black hole effect was taking place.

  22. stillalive says:

    Hooray! Another blog to begin reading! Nice job on this one, I look forward to reading more from you.

  23. Ehsan says:

    I swear to god I was up at 3 am, fearing for my life.

    Funny thing is the government dosent allow us to do stem cell research but allows us to make black holes.

  24. moose '12 says:

    awesome blogpost!! even if they do find higgs, and especially if they find higgs, physics is still the best course… and who says LHC doesn’t make good party-talk? =)

  25. Ahana says:

    Last?

    Comments have mellowed…

  26. Danielle says:

    I doubt this thing will cause the end of the world. Still I will attempt to persuade God to not let Earth be swallowed by a black hole. ^_^

  27. wesh m says:

    Okay so light does not get bent in a magnetic field, then i suppose it won’t get bent in electric field either.

    but how then does it get bent in the ionosphere.
    Is it due to density change or something?

    Noooo! Don’t answer it, I want to be the last.

  28. Anonymous says:

    erm… last?

    haha, I think that that wormhole thing could be quite interesting. Cheers – maybe the Mayans were right and this thing malfunctions in 2012 xD

  29. Anonymous says:

    Ehsan, don’t be an imbecile. The CERN, being a European organization, is under no U.S. (or Canadian) jurisdiction whatsoever. Several European nations don’t bar stem cell research, either.

    In any case, the main argument against stem cell research is that harvesting ES cells in order JUST to do the research is destroying a (potential) human life, something the Large Hadron Collider doesn’t do.

  30. I don’t really think this will be the apocalypsis, jajaja, but who knows? things happen, right? jajaja
    Maybe you’ve read my e-mail, I’m a nerd too, jajaja, but also I’m interested in other kind of things, but who cares? raspberry
    Nice article my friend, maybe we wont have any answers for this experiment, I mean, it wont be the same as it was million years ago, right?

  31. jaja, stephen hawkin is the best, as me, jajaja

  32. Richard says:

    haha.. yeah, most scientists are pretty sure that the end of the world will not come due to the creation of a black hole in the HC accelerator.. they believe that if a black hole is created, then it would be so small that not even an entire atom could fall into it

  33. Helen says:

    Last!

    I was so excited about the LHC, which weirded my friends out a little.
    Only other person who even knew about it at my school was my science teacher.

  34. Helen says:

    Oh, and welcome to the MIT blogs.
    I read your other blog, and they’re pretty awesome. =D

  35. Anonymous says:

    That picture brings back nostalgia of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Half-built Death Star, anyone?

    Anyway, the whole “extra-dimension” and “wormhole/time travel” talk reminds me of the experiment in The Mist. If extra-dimensional crabs do come out of the LHC, I’ll be sure to have boiling butter and giant nut crackers for defensive tactics.

    I really hope they find the Higgs, although theoretical physics and universal relativity equations usually turn out to be a disappointment with major setbacks. Good luck, mad scientists!

  36. Pranav says:

    If black holes would be created, they would instantly vaporize due to hawking radiation. magnetic monopoles could be dangerous though……..but they’re theoretical so still no chance of the earth getting swallowed…..people here in India freaked out and started worshiping god for mercy and when i saw that in news, i had a stomachache for days from laughing out so hard…..anyways…..nice blog wink

  37. Danielle says:

    That thing Pranav posted about India IS funny. XD

  38. sidd'13? says:

    well… i wish(and also expect a bit) something really diferent… which just take us all to a shock of state(like “we never dreamt it would be like this”)…

    and also…”Get ready for a bigger Bang”, means they are planing to make a bigger collider this time. They plan to finish it till 2012…

    @Danielle:
    well… things are so weird here usually… but this one has a right to win an oscar…

  39. Gabriel says:

    Last, maybe nobody will read this post after me.

  40. Shravani says:

    Nope. Last. A nice post by the way. Oh yeah, few people in India are quite over dramatic and they grab the attention leaving us poor normal souls out.

  41. Chris says:

    omg 9 more days till comments end