Those who have been following the Large Hadron Collider Countdown (yes I know, the link to the normally excellent www.lhcountdown.com site is currently broken – what are they trying to hide?) have probably noticed that the world failed to end on schedule last Thursday. Does that mean we’re all safe? That we’re not going to spontaneously collapse into a gravity well of strangelets?
Maybe not, because it’s just been delayed again. According to the official LHC commissioning page, the big switch-on won’t happen until September, then there’ll be another couple of months until the first collisions start. But it won’t be until next year, following the “winter shutdown”, that it finally gets up to full speed (for a more digestible version, see this article at The Register. Or Wikipedia, I don’t care.)
How long must we wait for the apocalypse? At least I still have my precautionary SPC sixpack of tinned tomatoes, which they released for the last big scare of Y2K. So I don’t know about you, but I’m prepared.
But, you ask, what if the world doesn’t end? Then how will we know the LHC is switched on? Will Higgs Bosons start popping up all over the place? How will we recognise them? What do they look like? *
Fortunately, the good folks at the Particle Zoo have prepared a sample that we can all study ahead of time to know what to expect:
The only inaccuracy I can find is that the real thing costs quite a bit more than $9.75… Although maybe the additional $6 billion is in the shipping cost.
(* These are actual questions I’ve been asked. The people want to know!)