Large Hadron Collider


The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest machine that mankind has ever built. It is designed to collide sub-atomic particles at speeds close to that of light and watch what happens after the impact. It is hoped that in this way we can get a better understanding of how the universe was formed. I am not anywhere near this level of scientific understanding yet I believe that progress is being made.

I wonder, however in my naivete if the wrong problem is being addressed. If we are to understand how something is formed, can we do this by taking it apart? Yes, we can see how a house is built, for example, by breaking it down into its component parts, bricks, tiles, glass, wood, cement etc. though we are unlikely to get successful results from colliding two houses together.

The collision would do irreparable damage to these components and would lead to small bits of rubble that would make no sense at all. If you want to know how a house is built then you need to understand how the individual components are made and then brought together.

The question I would really like to know is not what matter is made of but ultimately how it is formed in the first place. There is a clear relationship between energy and matter and so presumably under certain conditions energy can be converted into matter. We already know how to do this the other way around yet breaking down particles into even smaller and smaller bits and pieces may not get us to where we want to be.

I am not a physicist, the last time I studied the subject was during my A levels back in 1978. B in case you are interested. Clearly I have only a superficial understanding of the work that goes on at CERN yet what I do know is that the Big Bang was a creation event rather than an destructive one.

Will asking the same question over and over again in greater and more minute detail get you to where you want to be if ultimately it is the wrong question?

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