The Year of the Nerd

By RYAN STEWART  |  December 24, 2008

The idea was to find the "god particle" that gives all other particles in the universe their mass. Without getting too heavily into the science involved, part of the Hadron Collider's functionality involves creating tiny black holes, which dissipate and vanish almost instantly. Statistically, it's a safe process that poses very little danger. But there is a chance — a less than one-percent chance — that one of those black holes could potentially grow large enough to, well, destroy the universe. So, of course, everybody focused on that.

When people discussed the LHC, they scarcely mentioned all of the cool shit it can do — how it could recreate the conditions extant around the time of the so-called Big Bang, or how it could unlock the secrets of gravity. Most people probably didn't even know about half of that stuff. They just heard "it could kill us all" and then freaked the fuck out. The LHC is currently offline due to an electrical issue. But when CERN scientists get it operational again, let's hope we all have a better handle on things. Science is awesome — step off, haters!

Ryan Stewart is getting a wedgie right now. He can be reached at rstewart@phx.com.

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