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Mini big bangs are coming! Mini big bangs are coming!
This morning, a really charming talk from the British scientist, Brian Cox, who in a really poetic and self-effacing way transmitted his delight, awe and wonder of the physical natural world to a rapt TED audience. We ran a piece about the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN this time last year, and in a piece of serendipitous timing, the final piece of the particle detector, ATLAS, was slotted into place TODAY. (Turns out our article was a little premature; the LHC itself is due to be turned on this summer.)
Cox was so excited about the LHC and the scientists’ proximity to discovering the elusive Higgs particles once and for all, he beamed throughout his entire presentation, even as he made bad jokes about Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton. His enthusiasm for what they’ll find when it’s finally turned on was utterly infectious. Truthfully, it’s hard to get a sense of what ATLAS is without seeing it — it’s just such a mammoth operation occupying such a large area and involving thousands of scientists. But they’re all focused on one simple, if ambitious goal: to understand no less than how everything was made. As Cox put it, ATLAS and the LHC are set to provide us with the next chapter in a book whose story was started some 13.7 billion years ago, with the first Big Bang. Whew.
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