Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Letter to Prospect: a response

My column for the June issue of Prospect (available in the archives here) can be seen as somewhat sceptical about the value of the Large Hadron Collider, so it is right that Prospect should publish a letter defending it. But the one that appears in the September issue is a little odd:

“Philip Ball (June) says that "the only use of the LHC [Large Hadron Collider] that anyone ever hears about is the search for the Higgs boson." But this is not so. Physicists may look crazy, but they are not crazy enough to build such a complicated and technically demanding installation just to hunt down one particle. The LHC will be the world's most powerful instrument in particle physics for the next ten to 20 years, and it has been built to help us understand more about the 96 per cent of our universe that remains a mystery. The first thing physicists will be looking for is the Higgs boson, but this is just the beginning of a long journey into the unknown. As with earlier accelerators, there will be surprises.”

I’m glad that the author, Reinhard Budde, quoted my remark, because it reveals his non-sequitur. I did not say, as he implies, “all the LHC will do is look for the Higgs boson.” As a writer, I will make factual mistakes and no doubt also express opinions that are not wholly fair or justified. But I do try to choose my words carefully. Let me repeat them more fully:

“Particle physicists point out that because it will smash subatomic particles into one another with greater energy than ever before, it will open a window on a whole new swathe of reality. But the only use of the LHC that anyone ever hears about is the search for the Higgs boson… The LHC may turn up some surprises—evidence of extra dimensions, say, or of particles that lie outside the standard model.”

(It’s interesting that even Dr Budde doesn’t enlighten us about what else. exactly, the LHC might do, but I was happy to oblige.)

It’s a small point, but it does frustrate me; as I found out as a Nature editor, scientists seem peculiarly bad at comprehension of the written word (they have many other virtues to compensate).

For the record, I support the construction of the LHC, but with some reservations, as I stated in my piece. And by the way, I am a physicist, and I do not feel I look particularly crazy. Nor do I feel this is true of physicists as a whole, although many do have a tendency to look as though they belong in The Big Lebowski (this is a good thing). And the LHC was not built by “physicists” – it was built at the request of a rather small subsection of the global physics community. Not all physicists, or even most, are particle physicists.

4 comments:

JimmyGiro said...

Well young man, we both started out as chemists, and probably for the same reason. But this is your blog, so tell us what made you turn to physics, what was your epiphany?

Oliver said...

I'm willing to accept that all accelerators produce surprises, but not necessarily very big ones. What were the first order surprises at LEP. Or the ISR? Or for that matter the Tevatron?

uhfdf said...

歐美a免費線上看,熊貓貼圖區,ec成人,聊天室080,aaa片免費看短片,dodo豆豆聊天室,一對一電話視訊聊天,自拍圖片集,走光露點,123456免費電影,本土自拍,美女裸體寫真,影片轉檔程式,成人視訊聊天,貼圖俱樂部,辣妹自拍影片,自拍電影免費下載,電話辣妹視訊,情色自拍貼圖,卡通做愛影片下載,日本辣妹自拍全裸,美女裸體模特兒,showlive影音聊天網,日本美女寫真,色情網,台灣自拍貼圖,情色貼圖貼片,百分百成人圖片 ,情色網站,a片網站,ukiss聊天室,卡通成人網,3級女星寫真,080 苗栗人聊天室,成人情色小說,免費成人片觀賞,

傑克論壇,維納斯成人用品,免費漫畫,內衣廣告美女,免費成人影城,a漫,國中女孩寫真自拍照片,ut男同志聊天室,女優,網友自拍,aa片免費看影片,玩美女人短片試看片,草莓論壇,kiss911貼圖片區,免費電影,免費成人,歐美 性感 美女 桌布,視訊交友高雄網,工藤靜香寫真集,金瓶梅免費影片,成人圖片 ,女明星裸體寫真,台灣處女貼圖貼片區,成人小遊戲,布蘭妮貼圖片區,美女視訊聊天,免費情色卡通短片,免費av18禁影片,小高聊天室,小老鼠論壇,免費a長片線上看,真愛love777聊天室,聊天ukiss,情色自拍貼圖,寵物女孩自拍網,免費a片下載,日本情色寫真,美女內衣秀,色情網,

liwo said...

av自拍,臺灣18歲成人免費,avon,正妹強力牆,免費線上成人影片,免費遊戲,a片貼圖,正妹圖片,3d美女圖,杜蕾斯免費a片,蓬萊仙山寫真集,a片網站,哈拉網路成人區,sex女優王國,性感美女,自拍密錄館,18禁卡通,爽翻天成人網,go2av,網拍模特兒應徵,台灣18成人,制服美女,小老鼠成人,成人光碟,金瓶影片交流區,85cc免費影城,成人交友,蓬萊仙山寫真集,無碼,正妹強力牆,嘟嘟情色網,影片轉檔程式,免費成人片觀賞,拓網交友,松島楓免費影片,色美眉部落格,18成人avooo,美腿論壇,辣媽辣妹,露點寫真,哈雷聊天室,18禁影片,看a片,美女工廠,影音城論壇,美女影片,免費遊戲,免費算,小魔女貼影片,a片貼圖,美腿褲襪高跟鞋,av女優王國,觀月雛乃影片,性感美女,

女優王國,免費無碼a片,0800a片區,免費線上遊戲,無名正妹牆,成人圖片,寫真美女,av1688影音娛樂網,dodo豆豆聊天室,網拍模特兒,成人文學,免費試看a片,a片免費看,成人情色小說,美腿絲襪,影片下載,美女a片,人體寫真模特兒,熊貓成人貼,kiss情色,美女遊戲區,104 貼圖區,線上看,aaa片免費看影片,天堂情色,躺伯虎聊天室,洪爺情色網,kiss情色網,貼影區,雄貓貼圖,080苗栗人聊天室,都都成人站,尋夢園聊天室,a片線上觀看,無碼影片,情慾自拍,免費成人片,影音城論壇,情色成人,最新免費線上遊戲,a383影音城,美腿,色情寫真,xxx383成人視訊,視訊交友90739,av女優影片,