There’s excellent LHC coverage everywhere. Andy has a quick round up for example, and I highly recommend HastheLHCdestroyedtheEarth.com as the best response to the lack of catastrophe. Stuart, meanwhile, has found humour in the online logbooks of one of the experiments…
I was recently interviewed by a researcher trying to figure out what influences people to become scientists, and was slightly flummoxed by the discovery that it was hard to come up with a coherent story. What I do remember is a series of specific incidents which made an impression – and one of those was particle physics’ greatest acheivements of the 1990s.
I was still at school when the final confirmation of the existence of the top quark was announced. I’d just got to the stage where I was reading enough popular science to understand what a quark was, but it’s not as if I’d been waiting for the top quark to make an appearance. Yet it made a huge impression.
I heard about it, you see, on the car radio while being driven to school and it was the first item on the news. It was the first moment I realised that physics was not only still progressing, but could still make discoveries that could capture the attention of the world.
That’s why the flood of stories about the LHC will be important, because all over the world that same realisation has appeared in the minds of people who are reading newspapers on the way to work (no mention in this morning’s Chicago Tribune, though – I’m travelling again) or listening to the radio or talking to people down in the pub.
I’m slightly out of touch over here, but it’s interesting that most of the coverage – from the BBC’s radio 4 extravaganza to the headlines in the papers – have led on astronomical themes (recreating the conditions of the Universe, mainly). Another reminder of the public interest in my subject – even if we don’t mind lending it to the particle physicists for a while. Actually, could we have some dark matter candidates in return?