Is CERN a waste of money ?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Lostinspace, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Lostinspace Registered Member

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    You gave a good argument I have no reply for, except to acknowledge defeat.
     
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  3. Hayden Registered Senior Member

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    CERN may not be, because it is one of the best at fundamental research.

    But questions can be asked about expenses on aLIGO, for last few decades GR is accepted as the final word in gravity theories, then where is the need for one more expensive set up to prove that the GR is right. I do not know about any other usage of aLIGO, if so others are are free to pin point.
     
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Quantum gravity theories to bridge the gap between Relativity and Quantum Physics?
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Proving GR is right is one thing, but LIGO is about more than that.

    Gravitational wave astronomy is a whole new way of looking at the universe. Up to now, we've only been able to look at it electromagnetically, and in terms of the various particles that rain down from the heavens.

    LIGO is roughly equivalent, in terms of gravitational wave astronomy, to Galileo's first use of the telescope to do astronomy.
     
    Yazata likes this.
  8. Hayden Registered Senior Member

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    Your such praise or credit appears exaggerated.

    But still can you list couple of things which will be path breaking new theories or ideas or understanding etc based on this aLIGO experiment. You know about the future of "gravitational wave astronomy".
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Why do you say that?

    No, I don't know the future of gravitational wave astronomy.

    Put yourself back in the early 1600s, and imagine somebody asking Galileo "can you list a couple of things which will be path breaking new theories or idea or understanding based on this new-fangled telescope thingy?"

    Already, we've been able to directly observe the merging of two black holes into one, in a whole new way. Who knows what we'll see or learn as our ability to detect gravitational waves improves?

    Also, like a lots of fundamental science, LIGO has also spun off various new technological advances. For example, vibrational isolation methods.
     
  10. Hayden Registered Senior Member

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    Surely our present capability and knowledge bank is phenomenaly high as compared to what it was in early 17th century, so we are in a much better position to predict aLIGO utility than guys of telescope thingy at that time.

    Improvement in Vibrational isolation methods or enhancement in computing are not related directly with the objective of aLIGO, so that's a poor defence.

    You still have not been able to state how aLIGO has the potential to revolutionize science (read astronomy) the way telescope did from 17th century till date.
     
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In some ways, yes. There are more people now, for starters, and more experts. But on the other hand, the applications and potential findings of new technologies are very hard to predict in advance, because you're talking about research at the cutting edge of science. When the laser was invented, for instance, nobody could have predicted the huge variety of uses it would be put to, or the kinds of research that would be done with it.

    Like I said, those are spin-offs, though I would also say that vibrational isolation is quite central to LIGO, and was one of the biggest problems that needed to be solved to make it workable.

    It only takes a little thought.

    For example, our view to the centre of our own galaxy is blocked by a huge amount of gas and dust, but gravitational waves can penetrate that. And that's just one example.

    Gravitational waves might tell us things about dark mattter. They might give us new insights into neutron stars and black holes.

    I'm by no means well informed about this. I'm sure that if you spend a little time finding out, you'll find lots of stuff on what the people working on it think it will be good for.
     
  12. Lostinspace Registered Member

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    Do gravitational waves traverse through spatial fields or is the spatial field waving as wave energy is traversing through the field ?
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It produces really really high energies, at least for the tiny particles that particle physicists love so much. Theories of how particles like these behave suggest that their behavior is dependent in part on their energies.

    So CERN's function is apparently to verify various theories in theoretical physics, or alternatively, to show that the particles don't behave as predicted, which would stimulate another burst of theorizing I guess.

    I agree that some areas of theoretical physics seem to have been kind of moribund for the last twenty years at least. Part of the reason is that it takes higher and higher energies to test the newer theories, and that's harder (and more costly) to achieve. Hence, CERN.

    Politicians, mostly. But I wouldn't call it 'rubbish science'. It's just science that hasn't turned out as spectacularly as once hoped. That happens.

    Of course, when it costs billions, then cost-benefit considerations enter into the picture. The US canceled its hugely over-hyped superconducting super-collider, mostly because it pretty much would have duplicated what CERN was doing.
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I don't know what you're referring to when you say "spatial fields". Do you just mean "space"?

    As a gravitational wave propagates, the space it is travelling through alternately compresses and expands. Gravitational waves are ripples in space(time).

    LIGO detects gravitational waves essentially by measuring the lengths of two arms of a laser interfermeter. The two arms are at right-angles to one another. As a gravitational wave goes past, one arm becomes a bit shorter and the other becomes a bit longer. Then, half a period later, the reverse happens. In other words, the LIGO telescope as a whole expands and contracts in different directions very slightly as the wave goes past it. And by "very slightly" I mean by amounts far smaller than the diameter of an atom.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I see this as one of the methods of verifying the existence of "fields" which actually can generate the emergence of particles. At CERN we were able to stimulate the Higgs field to produce a boson?
    We have become Creators, not just observers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    It's not only that. Certain kinds of reactions involving particles only happen at very high energies, and certain particles have very large masses and short lifetimes, so very high energies are required to create them.

    In fact, many different theories are being tested in parallel. The raw data from the LHC is a goldmine that researchers can tap into to test lots of different ideas.

    That would be a false impression. My own assessment, based on personal observation, is that we're living in a very exciting time for fundamental physics, both in terms of theory and experiment.

    Not just the newer theories, but also some long-standing ones. The Higgs boson idea, for example, dates back to the 1960s, but the existence of the particle itself wasn't confirmed until a couple of years ago.

    Advances in particle physics over the past 20 years or so have been quite spectacular. If you think back, fundamental particles like the top quark were mere theories until not too long ago. The confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson is another vindication of the Standard Model, although physicists are always actively looking for hints of new physics that goes beyond the Standard Model.

    The SSC was also a poorly managed program with huge budget blowouts. The history and reasons behind its cancellation are quite complicated.
     
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    The next planned collider is estimated to be three times more powerful than CERN and to cost some 20 billion dollars and take another 20 years to build. China is the only country which could afford such an investment.

    This lecture by David Tong at Cambridge U. touches on the subject in some depth.
     
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  18. Lostinspace Registered Member

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    No, I do not mean space, I mean exactly what I said , spatial fields such as the Earths magnetic field .
     
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Sorry. I've never heard anybody refer to a magnetic field as a "spatial field" before.

    Electromagnetic fields "live" in the background of spacetime, so gravitational waves can pass through regions where there are magnetic fields without being affected. Gravity and electromagnetism are two different fundamental interactions.

    I'm not entirely sure how energy conservation works when a gravity wave passes through a region with charged particles. It seems to me that there must be some potential for energy transmission. Other people here might be able to expand on this.
     
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Yazata: I agree that some areas of theoretical physics seem to have been kind of moribund for the last twenty years at least.

    JamesR: That would be a false impression. My own assessment, based on personal observation, is that we're living in a very exciting time for fundamental physics, both in terms of theory and experiment.

    I was thinking of this:

    "All of the theoretical work that's been done since the 1970s has not produced a single successful prediction," says Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. "That's a very shocking state of affairs."

    Physicists today "write a lot of papers, build a lot of [theoretical] models, hold a lot of conferences, cite each other --- you have all the trappings of science, " he says. "But for me, physics is all about making successful predictions. And that's been lacking."


    Admittedly this is just one man's opinion and it might be way off the mark. But there it is.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/why-some-scientists-say-physics-has-gone-rails-ncna879346
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    The Higgs was predicted 40 years ago. It took 20 years alone to build the collider at CERN in accordance to the specs which satisfied the theoretical prediction. It ain't like building a microwave oven ........

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Instant gratification for what took the universe some billions years. A little ambitious, IMO
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  22. Lostinspace Registered Member

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    Should that not be the other way around?

    Space-time being the ''background'' primary spatial field and Electromagnetic fields being the ''foreground'' secondary spatial fields !

    Did Einstein imagine space-time curvature being a primary spatial field curved by mass, independent of a ''background'' spatial void ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  23. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Sometimes we get good defenses from scientific inquiry, like radar which was a major factor in saving Britain during WW II.
     

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