“We choose to go the the moon, and do the other things in this decade, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..”
Rings a bell?
Yes, these were the words used by John F. Kennedy to describe the US plans of going to outer space, and eventually to the moon. Why am I relating this with the ‘Big Bang’? Because over the last few days the attention and interest that the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have got is perhaps close to what the guys at NASA would have experienced during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when mankind’s endeavor to set foot on the moon and explore its surface was at its zenith.
Of course, like me, many of you reading this have only read about that era in history or science books or probably have seen documentaries on TV. Tom Hanks’ miniseries ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ is a fairly good and accurate depiction of those times. Yet the moment when Neil Armstrong first said those immortal words, or the moment when lives of 3 astronauts hung by a thread inside Apollo 13 will never dawn on us.
This time though, we are lucky enough to experience it first hand. Now the experiments being undertaken at the CERN labs under Geneva may not be as dramatic as the space missions, but they are not being dubbed as ‘mankind’s biggest experiment’ for nothing. We find ourselves on the cusp of huge discoveries in physics, and science in general which may prove to be a golden milestone in our quest for knowledge of the nature around us, and the eternal question of what brought us here. The gray haired scientists out there are not just working to create another ‘Big Bang’. There is lot more to it than meets the eye.
Probably, well its quite a possibility, that we may practically come across energy or particles which have been known to exist only theoretically until now. Maybe we can reproduce some form of this energy and harness it in the medical field to treat cancer cells more efficiently. Maybe the findings can drive other studies into the new areas of science and technology which may make our world a better place to live.
Just on the technological front these series of experiments are something to take note of. The raw computing power used to analyze the data emanating from the innumerable sensors is just amazing. Networking speeds only imagined in our dreams have actually been implemented there. The machine itself with its 17 mile long tubes and magnets is nothing short of an engineering feat. There is every chance that this modern technology will eventually percolate into our everyday computing environment.
Though there is always the other side of the coin. Some rumor mongers have gone to the extent of calling it as the “.. beginning of the end of the world.. “. Some question if its worth investing so much time, money and other resources when there are more mundane tasks at hand back home, more people to be fed, more wars to be fought, more monuments to be built and more elections to be won.
To round off I would like to quote a line from the same TV miniseries which I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog.
“There’s more to life than just living..”
Lets hope this recreated smaller ‘Big Bang’ gives birth to new avenues of research, just like the original one which gave birth to our universe.