29 April 2008

Why I'm a Lostie

All the recent controversy about whether or not progress on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN should be continued has found its way into my favorite television show, Lost. In case you aren't familiar with the story, there is some concern that experiments with the collider might produce the conditions for a black hole. On Earth. Though if we really had the power to create a black hole, then I wouldn't exactly mind being sucked up into it just to find out if I still exist on the other side--it's not like we'd know what hit us, anyway, since it would be painless.

I've always been a fan of shows that aren't just spoon fed to you, but leave room for a whole mythology and cater to those with an obsession for detail. I guess that is a roundabout way of saying that I'm a science fiction nerd. Anyway, the best part about Lost is that it has all of the conspiracy theory, but its writers try to ground it in real science. In a recent interview between the writers behind Lost and the magazine Popular Mechanics:

But the creators did let slip that the rest of this season will revolve around some very real—and very big—physics: the Large Hadron Collider, the much delayed European particle accelerator that could reveal information about the Higgs boson and dark energy. Some physicists believe the LHC will produce mini black holes, which might actually be able to open a one-way portal to another universe—a gateway that can only be kept open by a force of energy as strong as Jupiter ... or an electromagnet inside a desert island.

Michio Kaku, author of Physics of the Impossible, thinks the Lost creators are using cutting-edge science to lay the groundwork for a transversible wormhole to another point in space and time—a trip foreshadowed in an off-season video about the so-called Orchid station, which Lindelhof and Cuse promised would be a key to the next few episodes. "They're amping up the energy to the point where space and time begin to tear, and the fabric begins to rip," Kaku tells PM. "When the fabric of space and time begin to rip, things that we consider impossible become possible again."

Now I'm even more excited to see how the writers handle the rest of the season. I think everyone has a fetish with physics-they-don't-understand. It's so unfathomable, but such a fascinating idea that we could be capable of creating the conditions for a microscopic black hole. It's one of the (very few) reasons why I almost enjoyed learning quantum mechanics. Oh and just in case you are suddenly worried about the Collider, here's some reassuring news:

Microscopic black holes will not eat you...

Massive black holes are created in the Universe by the collapse of massive stars, which contain enormous amounts of gravitational energy that pulls in surrounding matter. The gravitational pull of a black hole is related to the amount of matter or energy it contains – the less there is, the weaker the pull. Some physicists suggest that microscopic black holes could be produced in the collisions at the LHC. However, these would only be created with the energies of the colliding particles (equivalent to the energies of mosquitoes), so no microscopic black holes produced inside the LHC could generate a strong enough gravitational force to pull in surrounding matter.


At April 30, 2008 8:38 PM, Blogger Julia said...


I never noticed the dharma insignia is shaped like CERN! omigod!

At May 01, 2008 12:51 PM, Blogger Julia said...

why do you think one rabbit with a red number painted on it turned into like 300 rabbits in that weird dharma initiative video?

At May 01, 2008 12:51 PM, Blogger Julia said...

they must be putting rabbits into the LHC!!!

At May 01, 2008 12:52 PM, Blogger Julia said...

i think slow.


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