Remember that movie “Contact,” where the star Vega was trying to contact Earth, so Jodie Foster convinced the world that it was high time we build a fancy machine to visit the aliens? But then Jodie Foster finally got there and instead of seeing cool-looking aliens, she met her late father, and all the moviegoers were like, “Really?”
We can hope for more interesting results from the latest real-life fancy machine, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, designed to recreate the conditions that existed just after the Big Bang. On Wednesday, brilliant scientists from around the globe observed in awe as the “on” switch was finally flipped, after two decades of work and $10 billion spent. The famous “Higgs boson” will be discovered, antimatter and bizarro dimensions will be explained.
Some fear that the machine will generate a black hole that will swallow up the Earth. If you’re wondering if the planet’s been destroyed yet, there’s a helpful site to answer that question.
If we are still here, visit the National Geographic site for a nice interactive explanation of the Collider. The BBC uses some nonphysics words to tell you what’s going on, while the Boston Globe provides pretty pictures. Last, but certainly not least, do not miss science writer Kate McAlpine’s “Large Hadron Rap."