Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Blow Up the Outside World"*

I love when I come across a little bit of information that totally blows my mind. My brother recently made my privy to the God particle (also known as the Higgs boson). This is a tough concept to wrap your head around, but here's my not-so-scientific explanation of what the God particle is—or rather what it's hypothesized to be.

First there was the atom, which was thought to be indivisible. Then it was discovered that the atom was actually made of subatomic particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. So much for that whole indivisible theory! So these subatomic particles must be indivisible. Wrong! While scientists think the electron cannot be divided (and therefore classify it as an elementary particle), protons and neutrons are actually made of other elementary particles.

Okay, so the God particle is supposedly the most fundamental of the all the elementary particles. Scientists think that finding this God particle will help to unravel all the mysteries of the universe. They hope to discover the source of matter, i.e. how things were created.

Scientists have built the Large Hadron Collider in order to try to observe the God particle. The only problem with this device is that there is a very minute chance that it could open up a black hole or cause the Earth to implode. I guess that's the risk you take when you start smashing very volatile particles together.

The operations of this project actually started last year (and, no, the Earth wasn't sucked into a black hole!), but a malfunction has since shut down further experiments. It's scheduled to begin again in the fall of 2009.

In the meantime, I'll try to get as much blogging in as I can because it would be a real bummer to be sucked into a black hole before I got all my super-important observations out to the public.