Tunneling to the Beginning of Time

Better be not amazed when you are reading an article in a newspaper and hundred other new inventions or discoveries have been made at the same jinx of time to make an appearance in the next day’s columns. Science is progressing at a pace much faster than our pace to realize the change and let those changes sink in. I wonder when our modules and curricula in class are still struggling with Einstein’s theory of relativity and mass energy equation and world is looking beyond scientific experiments (the humongous ones indeed!) like LHC, when we will be able to decipher it all and understand. Probably when something huge than LHC becomes functional! Such is the grace of science today superseding all.

For those wondering what LHC actually is, let us brief upon te much hyped invention of the times making rounds of discussion and news everywhere. The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) is a magnanimous scientific instrument near Geneva, 100m below the earth and 27kms in radius spanning across Switzerland and France. It is supposedly the world’s largest particle accelerator believed to take us to the instant just after the “Big Bang”. It is expected that with the success of this experiment we will be able to answer the most fundamental questions of physics with deeper understanding of laws of nature. It will solve the mysteries of space and time and in particular the intersection of quantum mechanics and general relativity where most of the current theories breakdown altogether. Some of the issues that would be handled in the experiment are nature of dark matter, legitimacy of the extra dimension as proposed by string theory, possibility of supersymmetry in nature and most importantly the Higgs Boson particle (called as God’s particle). This particle accelerator is expected to accelerate a new world of physics giving us a better understanding of working of universe from the world deep inside the atoms to the universe at large scale.

There are many concerns that have risen with this experiment. This project got a nod in 1995 and came to functional point in 2009. Meanwhile many concerns were put forward in context of the safety of this world. This particle accelerator is expected to generate energy that has never been created by any accelerator on this earth but nature does create it on a daily basis by cosmic ray collisions. The team claims that when universe still exists after such collisions occurring daily, why LHC is being taken as a matter of concern. But the point to note is have we understood our universe so well? This is quite possible that if cosmic ray collisions occur in nature daily, there are some other activities that balance the effect produced and about which we are certainly unaware. It is also said that microscopic black hole formation is a possibility on the collision of pairs of protons as it happens when stars collapse on themselves in universe. There is also a chance of strangelet formation that is lump of strange matter (that contains equal number of up, down and strange quarks). The theories say that most strangelets change to ordinary matter in millionth of a second. But is it possible that strangelets coalesce with the ordinary matter to form strange matter? Vacuum bubbles and creation of magnetic monopoles are other such concerns. To all the concerns the team has ended replying that all such processes occur on a routine basis in nature but still universe exists implying that Earth is free of any risk. But my question is, are we successful enough in deciphering our universe so well? Are we aware of all the processes and activities happening in nature? Have we ever realized that the complete space is available for heat dissipation in the course of natural activities but it is not the case with LHC which is being conducted on earth? In short is the risk worth taking of?

I definitely believe in the power and wisdom of science and technology but I also believe in the magnanimity and supremacy of that unresolved particle (in terms of science) and god (in human terms). Though not sounding like a person belonging to an age of science but I certainly feel that certain mysteries better be unresolved. Connecting it to the psychological aspect of life, mankind is only afraid of the ultimate power of God, but if science one day comes and claims that the mystery is resolved, that one binding force will also be gone. The invention of all times will be the destruction of a complete race of living beings. The invention might bring with it many useful byproducts but it will be keeping the human race at stake. These all are the apprehensions but then the expected outcomes of the project are also apprehensions, to be precise estimates. Whether an invention is a boon or a bane, only time can tell but whether the invention is worth carrying out, humans can.

Karanvir Gupta