Dear Dr. Boli: I have been reading in the news that the Large Hadron Collider, which has begun its experiments somewhere underneath Switzerland and France, will destroy the universe. Is that true, and if so, what should I pack? —Sincerely, A Concerned Resident of the Universe.
Dear Sir or Madam: The purpose of the Large Hadron Collider is to replicate some of the conditions present during the so-called “Big Bang,” the instant of irresponsible carelessness during which the universe was created. In particular, it is hoped that the experiments will lead to the discovery of the “Higgs boson,” sometimes described in the jocular cant of physics as the “God particle” on account of its ability to give mass to that which is by nature massless, in effect making something out of nothing.
Some physicists on the fringes of academia had theorized that the experiments conducted in the Large Hadron Collider could produce a singularity that would destroy the universe. When, on September 10, 2008, physicists at CERN turned the heavy crank that started up the machine, these predictions were proved correct, and the universe was indeed destroyed. However, as Planck had predicted (Irving Planck, proprietor of Bosons & Brews, a popular physicists’ watering hole in Geneva), at the same instant a new universe, identical in every particular to the former one, was created through the action of the Higgs bosons produced in the collider. Most people who are not particle physicists were not even aware that anything had happened, and the results of the experiment were not widely announced for fear of misinterpretations in the popular media.
The ability of the Higgs boson to give mass to things of no weight in themselves has caught the attention of political parties in the United States, whose strategists see many applications in promoting future presidential candidates.