Fallout Girl's Blog



Alice Falls Down the Rabbit Hole and Collides with…Atoms?

Radiation Level:  200 mrem

Listening to: Le Voyage de Penelope by Air

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is smashing two beams of particles head-on at super-fast speeds, recreating the conditions in the Universe moments after the Big Bang and leaving Alice to sort it out.

Space Age Rabbit Hole for Space Age Girls

Alice:
I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it.

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While the other LHC detectors will use proton beams to do their science, Alice (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) relies on smashing together electrically charged lead atoms.  Scientists hope to re-create a state of matter called quark-gluon plasma which existed just after the Big Bang.  Wonderland indeed.

Alice:  Curiouser and curiouser

Reconstructed tracks in the ALICE TPC of a cosmic shower event from the muon absorber.

In addition to the four dimensions we already know about, string theory predicts the existence of six more.

Alice:
I think I should understand that better, if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.

Science was turned on its head when Galileo improved the telescope and saw what no other humans had seen: “three fixed stars, totally invisible by their smallness,” all close to Jupiter, and lying on a straight line through it.”  After more observation, he realized these were moons orbiting Jupiter.

Alice: 
Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.

Galileo’s discovery of Jupitor’s orbiting moons was a big deal, but what’s even bigger is the concept that things exist even if we can’t see them with our human eyes.  Germs.  Bacteria.  Cells.  DNA.  The Big Bang.  God?

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The Mock Turtle: 
Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.

So much of our world, our universe is hidden around us.  But with the right technology, it will be revealed.  That is the hope with the Hadon Colider.  That we’ll find the God particle.  That we’ll finally know where we came from.  What we are made of.

Alice:
 I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

All of this is interesting, if not cataclysmic as certain scientists say smashing particles could create black holes and be the end of Earth.  But assuming a black hole doesn’t gobble us up, will the Hadon Colider ever answer the question WHY?

The Duchess:  Tut, tut, child! Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.

Once again, technology cannot provide a purpose.  A meaning. A Raison d’être.  It will be up to the philosophers, poets, and dare I say, screenwriters to suggest a why.  Or even to suggest there is NO why.  That all this is only an accident.  Or a dream.  Or something even more mysterious.  Okay, my brain hurts.

The ALICE Time Projection Chamber

Alice: 
It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits.

The ALICE Time Dwindling Chamber.

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