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Might Higgs boson be a time-traveling ne'er do well out to destroy the LHC?


We've certainly seen our fair share of crackpot theories regarding the Large Hadron Collider, and quite frankly the whole thing is becoming rather old hat. That said, when the New York Times comes up with something as far out as this, we most certainly have to share it with you. It seems that way back in July, 2007 two theoretical physicists (Danish string theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen and the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya), proposed an unlikely explanation as to why the LHC and the Superconducting Supercollider before it seem to be particularly accident prone. According to science writer Dennis Overbye, the Higgs boson (which the collider has been designed to observe) "might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather." Makes sense, right? Of course, we don't have any idea how these elementary particles might actually conduct the business of destroying equipment, but that hasn't stopped the duo from proposing a novel way to test this theory.

According to a paper published earlier this month, a simple deck of cards could be made, either out of construction paper or, if you're feeling high tech, simulated on a computer. The deck would have one card indicating that the LHC should be shut down, and a much larger number of cards (maybe 100 million or so) that indicate that everything is good to go. If you draw the death card, as it were, you can bet that the shadowy hand of the Higgs boson is stretching back in time, telling you to halt the operation. Between all this and the proposed hyperdrive propulsion tests we came across a couple days ago, things are starting to get very Philip K. Dick over at CERN. Can we make one suggestion? Instead of a random number generator, why not Tarot cards? Or a Ouija board? You know, go for a Halloween vibe.

[Via New Scientist]

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