Sum of All Things

It isn't very often that you can realise just how lucky you are to be alive in this moment of time.  Regardless of the rubbish going on in our lives right now, Gagan and I are full of excitement knowing that the world is on the brink of 'Something Big'.  I'm not sure if there has been a moment like it before - where humans have actually known that they were about to discover something remarkable *before* they discovered it...  so in a way, this feels to me like the pinnacle of our big brain evolution. What am I talking about?  Oh... the Large Hadron Collider of course!

The most fundamental questions of physics - of space time... of how the universe came into being - may be answered in that wonderous exciting tunnel under the farms near the border of France and Switzerland. So many countries - even places like Iran and India have been involved. It's such a meeting of the minds and seems to me to be what the human experience is all about.  Although they have some idea what might be discovered, what is really mind blowing is what they *don't* know. Their original standard model could be blown apart and they have to start again - new questions instead of answers, totally unexpected things could be discovered... and of course the concept of finding other dimensions.  I'm on the edge of my seat.

There are lots of excellent documentaries we've been watching, both from when it was being built and now as it's working.  I love to peek in at the LHC Portal to check if a beam is present in the tunnel... it's all greek to me, but the most poetic greek I can imagine!  The CERN podcasts with one of my favourite scientists Brian Cox (perhaps more on him another time) are mouth watering to listen to... so what do you have to do to visit this place I wonder?! Ah in my dreams....

As I mused about it all... I began to wonder at the scale of the project. No one person could have all that science in his head. No matter how evolved we are as a species, we can't hold all that in one brain.  So really,  all these physicists and engineers and specialists from around the world who have gathered in this one place - are like a Very Large Array... hooking their brains together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Civilization has moved through so many stages, (some having forward momentum and some not so much!)...  the Stone and Iron Ages... Dark Ages, Renaissance...  and some would say that we are in the Silicon Age.   Now it feels as if we are on the brink of something remarkable... could it be the Particle Age?  I'm ready....   are you?



3/11/10, 6:03 AM

How lucky we are to live in this time
The first moment in human history
When we are in fact visiting other worlds

The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean
Recently we've waded a little way out
And the water seems inviting

- Carl Sagan


The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism