Visiting the Large Hadron Collider – or a picture of it.
Went to the Qld Museum's Hadron Collider exhibit. We had a great time but what a challenging concept for a museum. As we stood in mock-ups of large concrete tunnels and what could have been corridors of rooms from my old uni days, and watched a looped video of a scientist bunking out in her office waiting for the right readings to appear... I couldn't help thinking that this was not an exhibit that would capture the imagination of the masses. How do you show the excitement about the discovery of the Boson-Hicks particle? The work of decades of collaborative science, buried deep underground, working on the invisible, with physics and mathematics only a minute fraction of the population would begin to appreciate? We stared at an empty champagne bottle and tried to imagine the visceral excitement of achieving a lifetime's goal and a secret of the universe. We tried - we tried with all of our imagination. What a brave choice for a public museum, which must entertain even more than inform to remain relevant and funded. [Side note just a few years ago the city opened up the tunnel they had been building under the river for a walk through - one of the largest civil engineering projects worldwide in recent years. Don't know if folks would be impressed with a cardboard tunnel after that - even if was a scientific one. Just saying.]
Ditto for the exquisite colour back-lit astronomy photos downstairs. Even 10 years ago they would have been Wow - but the age where I can watch a space walk live on my laptop or join a Rover on Mars ... well ... kudos for all of the parents who were dragging their squirming children through the exhibit. I think we oldies are way behind the times... sob for science.
Below: Me trying to imagine being 100m underground next to supermagnets accelerating particles thorough this (mock) concrete tunnel and where the exits might be.
There was patch of paint-box blue between the wisps of rain cloud. In the gap a rolling bleach white cloud curled in on itself, heedless of the world below. What did it care about the crawling things far below? What did it care if it's seconds of unique beauty were only seen by birds and creatures in silver tubes? It sang and danced on the unseen current of a wind high in it's own element. Unworried by thoughts of falling, of failing, of being anything other than what it was - a dance of a thousand million droplets of water vapour. Why should you be any different. Why don't you dance and sing with all the joy of the millions of cells in your body? We are at the beginning of things - always. Between now and the next moment is a new beginning. Leap joyously into the void between the moments.
This is a time for new beginnings and to celebrate I've decided to write a Friday Flash blog post based on whatever the moment's void decides to show me. Should be an interesting exercise.
Ecologist and environmental scientist, tea-drinker and editor, futurist and student of irony, reader of romance and science fiction, practicing cat-herder (nobody can ever be a Master cat-herder). Frequently succumbs to the need to write. Rarely succumbs to the need to vacuum.