Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Testing the Big Bang

My favorite book read for a college course was probably "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn, a Physics and Philosophy professor at UC Berkeley, Princeton, and finally, MIT. My class was Symbolic Anthropology at BYU. I littered the margins of that book with copious comments and notes, and I would love to take another look at it, but it too was damaged in our basement flood.

Generally I'm not a fan of hard sciences. I'm not even much of a fan of science fiction unless it somehow addresses the conflicting overlap between free agency and destiny which fascinates me. And of course, I'm crazy about the show LOST which does science fiction very well.

But I loved the book because it seemed to be more about how people think and make decisions than about scientific paradigms. He talked about how shifting paradigms is a decision made based on the new paradigm answering questions better than the last, but the decision is largely aesthetic, it is usually initially made within about 3 seconds.

Somehow reading this article about trying to re-create the Big Bang brought that book back to my mind. Apparently there is some concern that the experiment could cause some very negative effects, or even bring about the end of the world, but I don't see how the experiment could not be done once conceived. I am too much like Eve, or for a more modern example, like Clive Own in "Closer"--if we could know or understand, why wouldn't we want to? Regardless, it's being done tomorrow and I'm anxious about what we'll discover, even if it takes years for anything to come.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Dean Root said...

they have fired up the large Hydron Collider on the France/Swiss boarder. So far so good. I don't know if they have actually collided anything yet but it would be cool to see the results, like a mini black hole