“I resolved at length to enquire whether there existed a true good, one which was capable of communicating itself and could alone affect the mind to the exclusion of all else, whether, in fact, there was something whose discovery and acquisition would afford me a continuous and supreme joy to all eternity” –Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, Baruch Spinoza
Perhaps it is not supreme joy that motivates the scientists at CERN, but it is certainly a drive to understand the underpinnings of eternity, a drive which led them to go ahead early with their plans to collide particles, as the New York Times reports. Yesterday, just three days after firing up the long-delayed Large Hadron Collider, physicists geared up the system and collided protons, having produced what they’re calling “candidate collision events.”
The collision, which came in at a fraction of the maximum power the LHC will eventually operate at, was essentially a test to verify the beams that race around the 17-mile-long track would line up correctly. The protons met injection energies of 450 billion electron volts and generated a very pretty picture when they actually collided.
CERN hopes to get the system up to 1.2 trillion electron volts by the end of the year and hopes to get up to 3.5 trillion electron volts early in the coming year. Apparently, unsatisfied with these seemingly huge numbers (I am curious how electron volts equate to gigawatts, if it’s anywhere above 1.21, they need to back the fuck down) the scientists will press the machine to produce 7 trillion electron volts (!!!) after shutting the machine down in a year and running repairs and upgrades. Sure, the planet hasn’t been sucked into a black hole, but that doesn’t mean that CERN isn’t trying its damnedest. Cheers.
P.S. Happy birthday, Baruch Spinoza.