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Science

CERN's LHC Powers Down For Two Years 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the rotate-the-tires dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Excitement and the media surrounded the Higgs boson particle for weeks when it was discovered in part by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). But now, the collider that makes its home with CERN, the famed international organizational that operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory, is powering down. The Higgs boson particle was first discovered by the LHC in 2012. The particle, essentially, interacts with everything that has mass as the objects interact with the all-powerful Higgs field, a concept which, in theory, occupies the entire universe." We covered the repair announcement last month.
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CERN's LHC Powers Down For Two Years

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @07:57PM (#42904443)
    And they wonder why there is a kerfluffle about what people call the "God particle?" Seriously, this hyperbole really has to be toned down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @08:29PM (#42904733)

    Some parts for LHC were getting designed in the 1970s. 2-years is *nothing*.

    Comments here are like if nothing can be done. You know, real science is actually understanding the petabytes of data already measured and stored. Hey, they even have to figure out that Higg's boson look-like thingy that they did measure but still not sure what it is 100%.

    As I said, 2 years, it is nothing. Lots of data to go over. Trust me, no one will be idle.

  • by tylutin (2575251) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @09:06PM (#42905055)

    If a project like the LHC were really producing useful results, the free market would jump to fund it.

    Actually, businesses rarely looks farther than 5 years in a business plan.
    If a research project can't make a profit in that time, they don't pursue it.
    The LHC took 10 years to build, from 1998 to 2008. Therefore nearly all of the physics research that has been performed and its resulting discoveries and breakthroughs would never have happened if it was left to the "free market".

    Science and understanding can not progress through simple theory. The ideas must be tested and validated. That's the reason for facilities like this.

  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @10:33PM (#42905763)

    There is also the issue of externalities. Discovering something new about the universe would benefit many people, not just the investors who paid for the science. When you have a situation where lots of people will benefit, but the cost tends to be concentrated, you have a good reason for government funding.

  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @11:42PM (#42906209) Journal

    But now that they've found the Higgs boson, what are they going to do with it?

    I don't know it depends on what clever ideas people come up with. At the moment we are not even sure if it is the Higgs we have produced so we need to study it more. This precisely illustrates why industry will never fund research like this: it is too far ahead of any practical application and may even turn out to just be a stepping stone with no applications of its own but which leads to something amazingly useful. While I could make wild conjectures about what we might be able to discover the best way to understand the case for fundamental science like this is to look back.

    In the early 1900's Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus and you could have wondered exactly the same thing: what is anyone going to do with it now we know it is there. Well 40 years later it lead directly to a new source of power. However indirectly it let us understand atoms far better. That understanding, along with quantum mechanics gave use an understanding of materials that led to the invention of the silicon transistor, an invention that has literally transformed the entire planet. I very much doubt Rutherford, or anyone on the planet at the time, had even the tiniest clue that this would be the result of this discovery.

    Sadly it seems that the cry for immediate, short term applied science is getting stronger and stronger. What the industry types who are calling for this need to understand is that they are turkeys asking for christmas. Sure it might be nice to have all those fundamental research dollars wrapped up under the christmas tree and given to you to build a better widget but once those presents are opened and gone there will be no more fundamental research you can apply to build the next generation of widgets. It's then that they will realize who society will eat for dinner...

  • by luckymutt (996573) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:37AM (#42906643)
    Yeah!
    Like that travesty that is NASA...if there was value to space exploration at all, then the free market would have stepped up in the 1960's and put a man on the moon!
    Oh, wait a minute. There was no short-term profit and the R&D cost was so amazing only a government could pull it off.
    Well, it isn't like there's long list of tangential advances that benefit all the rest of us now and which allow corporations to profit directly from.
    Oh, wait.

    Sure the government's main job is common defense, but seriously, if everything was left up to the free market we'd be no where near what we have now. I'm not even going to get into what NIH has done for the common good.

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