GENEVA – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland is in the final stages of construction, cooling down to an operational temperature of about 2 degrees Kelvin. Before physicists begin their research on the elusive Higgs boson particle, they will make a test run using peanut butter and chocolate.
“We know what outcome to expect from this experiment, so it will confirm that the equipment is working,” said Alice Reese, the lead scientist on the test. “If it does not come out according to our predictions, we know we’ll have some adjusting to do.”
The team considered several combinations of substances to collide before settling on peanut butter and chocolate. “Oil and vinegar, cats and dogs, rock music and flutes – none of them produced a predictable outcome in our offline models,” said Reese.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator when it begins full operations in June 2008. Critics warn that the collider could produce disastrous doomsday scenarios in which micro black holes or strangelets destroy the universe and everything in it, including Earth.
Reese is skeptical of those claims. “Let’s wait and see how the peanut butter thing goes first.”