Did a Time-Traveling Bird Sabotage the Collider?

So first there was this - a group of scientists thinking that the LHC was shut down last year because its discovery in the future would cause waves in times to "ripple" back to stop its discovery in the present. That was a year ago - this year apparently the Higgs boson is using birds as its minions!

"Sometime on Nov. 3, the supercooled magnets in sector 81 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), outside Geneva, began to dangerously overheat. Scientists rushed to diagnose the problem, since the particle accelerator has to maintain a temperature colder than deep space in order to work. The culprit? "A bit of baguette," says Mike Lamont of the control center of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which built and maintains the LHC. Apparently, a passing bird may have dropped the chunk of bread on an electrical substation above the accelerator, causing a power cut. The baguette was removed, power to the cryogenic system was restored and within a few days the magnets returned to their supercool temperatures.

While most scientists would write off the event as a freak accident, two esteemed physicists have formulated a theory that suggests an alternative explanation: perhaps a time-traveling bird was sent from the future to sabotage the experiment. Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, have published several papers over the past year arguing that the CERN experiment may be the latest in a series of physics research projects whose purposes are so unacceptable to the universe that they are doomed to fail, subverted by the future.

The LHC, a 17-mile underground ring designed to smash atoms together at high energies, was created in part to find proof of a hypothetical subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. According to current theory, the Higgs is responsible for imparting mass to all things in the universe. But ever since the British physicist Peter Higgs first postulated the existence of the particle in 1964, attempts to capture the particle have failed, and often for unexpected, seemingly inexplicable reasons.

More at the TIME website.

This seems completely ridiculous to me, but apparently the math somehow works out in there or these notable scientists wouldn't be saying it.

I think maybe in reality, the Higgs boson is sending waves through time to mess with these scientists heads.

Honestly I don't know what to think of all of this. As the article states, many "absurd" things in physics were first derived this way and later shown to be true. This is really teetering on the edge of believability for me though. I feel like the fact that I'm in graduate school for physics should make me pick a side on this, but I'm really on the fence. It's driving me nuts!

Views: 47

Comment by Doug Reardon on November 11, 2009 at 8:15pm
Just remember that the earth is moving in excess of 7 miles per second, so any being traveling through time would end up floating in deep space since the earth would have moved a considerable distance away, especially if it's many years of time travel.
Comment by Danielle on November 11, 2009 at 8:32pm
@Doug - Good point, but it wouldn't be the case if the time travel was really timespace travel - since you can't have one without the other and they are essentially one thing I don't see why if time travel were feasible then moving through space in the same process wouldn't be too.

I don't think the physicists were suggesting that the birds actually traveled through time, just that some sort of "force" from the future caused them to drop the baguette into the magnets.
Comment by Scadilla on November 12, 2009 at 2:30am
Don't let the math scare you. There are a lot of prominent theories are backed up by almost airtight math like parallel universes and string theory that don't necessarily pan out. Just take a step back, put on your skeptic hat and digest the absurdity of what is being proposed. Just, because we can't disprove it doesn't mean it should be an acceptable solution for an essentially non-existent problem. The LHC as I understand it is the pinnacle of human science and engineering. Of course something is eventually going to go wrong when there is so many moving parts that have to work in concert. I bet the Fermilab accelarator had/has similar setbacks.
Comment by Dave G on November 12, 2009 at 10:22am
Because time-traveling birds are much more rational than complicated machinery breaking.

That said, I'd just like to welcome our new TARDIS-possessing avian overlords...
Comment by Scott A. Hunt on November 12, 2009 at 11:36am
I've still yet to see proof that time-travel in reverse is even possible.
Comment by Dave G on November 12, 2009 at 11:57am
You mean Doctor Who doesn't count? :D

The math works for time travel, but as I understand it there are some other problems. (Like going faster than the speed of light for one proposed method)
Comment by a7 on November 12, 2009 at 11:57am
Its mostly flying right over ma wee scots brain man. The subject matter is greatt for a blockbuster movie.

tally bally ho

Comment by Danielle on November 12, 2009 at 12:51pm
I really dislike string theory - mainly because the math isn't airtight so I don't understand why anyone is taking it seriously.

The only thing that gets me is that with other things that people thought were completely outlandish when first thought of because of math were later proved to be very true (electricity, the standard model, oxidation, there are a bunch of examples) - so I feel weird saying these things are completely out of the question. The Higgs boson itself is a result of math that the entire LHC was built for to try to discover... it might not even exist itself. If I accept quantum theory (which I do), I'm having trouble where in science to draw the line haha. Things just got so batshit crazy in the last couple of generations.
Comment by Fabian Kupferschmid on November 12, 2009 at 2:25pm
String theory looks strange and silly. But it's the best theory to solve some problems we have in quantum physics (eg the weakness of gravity). It's not a theory which scientist just made up for fun. There are some very good reasons why the string theory could be correct. Read "Warped Passages. Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions" by Lisa Randall if yo're interested in in.
Comment by Danielle on November 12, 2009 at 2:28pm
I have read that and a bunch of other books about string theory - it just upsets me that so much of it is approximations of approximations of approximations, and such a big deal is being made of it (publically) already. There's absolutely nothing wrong with starting off with approximations, but it strikes me as strange as how many people are such huge string theory advocates when it hasn't even begun to be worked out yet.


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