It's barbecue season, and you need to sound smart while drinking beer around your charred meat. But how will you discuss the most important scientific news of the year — and maybe of the decade — if you don't know anything about it? It's okay. We're here to explain what "the God Particle" is, and whether or not the Europeans found it.
The Large Hadron Collider is an enormous, $8 billion machine built to detect the existence of certain hypothesized-to-exist particles. But detect how? What if, instead of looking for particles, scientists could listen for them? This is what they'd sound like.
Little boys and girls like to smash toy trucks into each other to see what happens. Physicists? They prefer firing particles through a 17-mile long inner tube under Switzerland and France and seeing what happens when they collide. The goal is to create a mini-Big Bang and unleash a new era of understanding about the world around us, which will of course lead to bigger and meaner weapons of mass destruction which we'll say Iran is trying to build so we can invade them. But some scientists worry that the experiment, called the Large Hadron Collider, will create a black hole that destroys the entire world. They turned the thing on yesterday anyway and good news: we still exist. "It will be weeks or months before two particles ever crash together in the giant tube," reports Reuters. Plenty of time for worrying!(Photo by AP/Nolfi)
Do you lay awake at night worried that physicists tinkering in Geneva at the new Large Hadron Collider might destroy reality as we know it, or are you hoping they open a portal to a parallel dimension that just happens to have really hawt aliens? I do. Both. If you don't, let Will Barras and friends take you on a ride in their ode to the search for the Higgs boson. Mad props for the Stephen Hawking shoutout on the hype track.