The Large Hadron Collider May Allow Us to Read the Mind of God

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the Large Hadron Collider in the news lately. After 16 years the LHC seems to be in the headlines each week, breaking speed, energy level, and other types of records right and left. In fact, just last month the accelerator broke its previous record by shooting two beams of protons at an energy level of 3.5 trillion electron volts (TeV) each. Last week the accelerator finally began to smash subatomic particles together, producing temperatures not seen since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The LHC still has yet to be brought up to its full operating capacity of 14 TeV, but CERN physicists are saying that it won't be too much longer.


As things continue to advance during this period of rapid development, you can keep track of the changes using the same system LHC engineers and physicists use to monitor the collider's status and activity. CERN provides a live LHC status tool on their website with an explanation of its features. The page content, including current tasks, energy levels, and raw data for experimental collisions, is updated quite frequently by LHC operators. CERN also provides a wonderful 66-page LHC guide and FAQ for you to read. I should also point out that CERN's document server provides a spectacular array of over 20,000 photos.

Once the LHC was operational, it was just nine days after protons were first circulated in both directions that an electrical connection between magnets halted all operations, requiring months of repairs. Other malfunctions during initial tests and operations included large helium leaks, overheating magnets, a broken transformer, and even a short circuit caused by a piece of bread dropped by a bird on an outdoor electrical installation. Many conspiracy theories started popping up from all over the world and circulated the Internet almost overnight. Some of these theories claimed that the LHC would open up a black hole that would swallow the earth, giving rise to the phrase "Doomsday Machine." At one point, two well-regarded physicists formulated a theory that suggested that the experiments were being sabotaged from the future. Yet with regard to the LHC blowing up the earth or sucking us all into a black hole, you have to remember that Mother Nature thinks of this machine as a pea shooter compared to the cosmic rays that hit the earth on a daily basis.

Today the LHC may have the potential to explain the origin of all four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Physicists believe that at the beginning of time there was a single superforce that unified these fundamental forces. Finding it could be the crowning achievement in the history of science.

Through the LHC, we hope to finally prove the existence of the Higgs boson, which is the only particle yet to be observed by the Standard Model. There is a hypothetical, ever-present quantum field that is supposedly responsible for giving particles their masses; this field would answer the basic question of why particles have the masses they do or why they have any mass at all. According to CERN, "The answer may be the so-called Higgs mechanism. According to the theory of the Higgs mechanism, the whole of space is filled with a ‘Higgs field,’ and by interacting with this field, particles acquire their masses. Particles that interact intensely with the Higgs field are heavy, while those that have feeble interactions are light. The Higgs field has at least one new particle associated with it, the Higgs boson. If such a particle exists, experiments at the LHC will be able to detect it."

Ultimately, what we want to get out of the Large Hadron Collider is something so fantastic, it could rewrite science entirely. We want to create something called sparticles (super-particles) that represent the next set of vibrations of the superstring. We are now on the verge of being able to detect signals from the eleventh dimensionsignals from hyperspace. In the eleventh dimension, these four forces just melt together into one gorgeous theory thatif understood and provenwill allow us to "read the mind of God."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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