LHC – It’s the end of the world as we know it

These pictures of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN are awe-inspiring, but also make me a bit sad. It’s depressing to think that Big Science like this can’t be done in the US anymore. Or rather, won’t be done.

these are just a few of the amazing photos available. For captions, and many more, check out the original link.

I visited Fermilab as a kid and then actually worked on some hardware for an experiment there as a summer student in college at UW. I don’t know much about particle physics but I do know that every square foot of those massive, intricate assemblies is the product of some grad student’s or researcher’s life work. It’s humbling to think of the intellectual capital invested in this machine, built to answer what amount to such fundamental, even basic questions.

I had a similar reaction when I visited the Saturn V on the grounds of the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, TX. That was once functioning hardware; had there been the money, it could have flown to the moon. Instead it rusts in a placid Texas field.

It occurs to me that I’ve never seen the equal of these pictures of the LHC in any science fiction, on TV or film. Nothing in the imagination of our storytellers has equaled the sheer complexity and power of the simple photos here.