Thursday, December 10, 2009

collision course

The Large Hadron Collider is up and running now, after year-long repairs, and producing actual collisions and scientific measurements. And just on time, my review of Paul Halpern's book "Collider" has appeared in this week's edition of Chemistry & Industry (issue 23, p27, restricted online access).

Here's a snippet:

What I found most exciting in this book was the story how physicists came to build bigger and bigger accelerators, ending up with the LHC. There is much to be learned about the nature of human endeavours from this side of the book alone. For example, the fate of the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), which was to be built from scratch in a remote part of Texas, until Congress pulled the plug, contrasts with the LHC which is based on using existing CERN infrastructure and recycling as much as possible from previous instruments, and thus could be financed without much pain.

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