Talk:Large Hadron Collider/Archive 8

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←Archive 7 (September 2008) Archive of Talk:Large Hadron Collider Archive 8 (mid-Sept–Oct 2008) Please do not modify


Purpose section cleaned up[edit]

Hi, as suggested also by BenRG I have unified the opening paragraph of the Purpose section with that of the Research subsection. In doing so, I have shifted the emphasis of the paragraph from the Grand Unified Theories to the confirmation of the Standard Model (see the thread "Purpose section needs refreshing" above). I moved the sentence about Grand Unified Theories to a new item in the list of LHC physics goals. I also reworded slightly some other items of the list and reordered it. Finally I removed the references to [1], which was used as a catch-all for too many different topics in the list. I think that we should find suitable specific references for each topic, such as the one of Lisa Randall in the extra-dimension item. I also feel that the citation of Chris Quigg somewhat duplicates the one of Hawking that we have in the text, but I have not removed it yet. Finally, I added a sentence mentioning Quark-gluon plasma to the subsection on the heavy-ion programme. Any improvement to my revision will be more than welcome. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Today's New York Times has a nice piece Brian Greene, placed in the Opinion section, but really a good clear elementary tutorial on the fundamental questions the LHC is expected to address. He orders these as:
  • Completion of the Standard Model, by observation of Higgs particles.
  • Observation of Supersymmetry and super symmetric particles, good candidates for ~95% of the mass in the universe.
  • Detection of spatial dimensions beyond the three we know.
  • Production of microscopic black holes, allowing their laboratory study.
Greene—who is actively working in the field, and has a deep understanding of the subject—is the best communicator I have seen about these matters. I recommend his material as an excellent source for our own attempts to make them more accessible. Wwheaton (talk) 16:11, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
The article is good and Greene is undoubtedly a great communicator (he also wrote good books on the subject). I would argue however that he is not listing the production of micro black holes as the fourth "fundamental question" the LHC is expected to address. Indeed, micro black holes are one of the manifestations of large extra dimensions (the third fundamental question in your list). Green devotes a separate section of the article to micro black holes because - in his words - it's "the possibility that generated the fuss". This said, I am fully in favor of referencing this paper in the Purpose section. Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:29, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Getting up to speed[edit]

Anyone know how long it will take the hadrons to get up to speed once they are injected into the main ring from the linear accellerator? (talk) 19:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

I imagine a few miliseconds, as they are moving at near light speed when injected. Hurricanefloyd (talk) 21:08, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Much longer, many seconds at least, and possibly hours. I believe the time is in the 60-page CERN Brochure 2008-001, "CERN faq: LHC the guide". The issue is not speed, but energy, or beam momentum. The bending magnet fields have to be turned up as the particles are accelerated, and this takes a very large amount of energy, as the article mentions. The test on 10 September barely began this process. Wwheaton (talk) 06:41, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

"in popular culture" section[edit]

BenRG (talk · contribs) recently removed several items from the "in popular culture" section. I do understand that such sections can be magnets for trivia, but I think that the latest purge might have gone a bit too far. The hidden-text note says, "A good measure of notability would be third-party coverage or a response by CERN, for example Angels and Demons." The Torchwood radio play was covered by The Sunday Times and other British media, and James Gillies, CERN's head of communication, wrote an essay for BBC Radio 4 commenting on the radio play. That's third-party coverage and a response by CERN. There's a bit more about the public response to the play at Lost Souls (Torchwood)#Broadcast and reception; I'm sure that more will follow in the next few days when reviews come in from the national newspapers. (Doctor Who and Torchwood customarily get such reviews in the UK press.)

Given this, I'm inclined to put the Torchwood play back in. The mention needn't be long, just enough to establish its notability and point readers to Lost Souls (Torchwood). But I do think that it merits inclusion. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 19:09, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't object to adding this back in. Popular-culture sections do tend to grow uncontrollably, but maybe the buzzcut I gave it was a bit too much. -- BenRG (talk) 20:37, 11 September 2008 (UTC)


Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer wrote a speculative fiction novel called "Flashforward" about a fictional LHC scientist. It would be worth it to add to the popular culture list as the LHC is at the centre of the novel. In the story, activation of the LHC gives everyone on the planet a vision of their life 20 years in the future; the novel deals with the implications of the visions and the scientist's involvement. Here is a link to the outline on Sawyer's website:

On the point of cleaning up the popular culture section: it's called popular culture because it's popular. It's not like the page is going to run out of room if Wikipedia lists all references in pop culture. I think it's important to have a list of all refrences to popular culture, even if they don't meet BenRG's standards.

-Ashleigh 14 September 2008

Timeline for first collisions[edit]

Hi, the October subsection of the Timeline section reads <The first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled on 21 October 2008.> quotes an article in some russian online newspaper. In the article there is no information on when the first high-energy collision will actually take place (and it is my understanding that on 21 Oct there will only be a ceremonial event which is not related to the timeline of the experiment - but I might be wrong). Unless somebody can point to a reliable source for the expected date of the first collisions I would drop this subsection. Note also that we should differentiate between "first collisions" (which might also happen at low energy) and "first high-energy collisions" i.e. the collisions with 5 TeV per beam. Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

as per WP:V that's the best we have to go on at the moment, but on an unverifiable note look to the not to distant future. What ever we put to cover the interest in the first collision has to be reliably sourced. Cheers Khukri 18:45, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
no, the best we have is this: stating that the first high-energy collisions are expected to
occur about 6-8 weeks after the start on September 10. Note that there is no connection with the ceremony on Oct 21 (and in my opinion there is no need to raise mass hysteria about a specific date: the collisions will happen when the accelerator is ready). I would change the timeline section (and the lead) quoting the 6-8 weeks estimate from CERN. I would also remove the "september" and "october" titles. Finally, we must specify that the first high-energy collisions will be at 10 TeV and that the energy will be upgraded to the planned 14 TeV only after the winter shutdown. Ptrslv72 (talk) 18:59, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Please would you expand upon "train the magnets up to full current". Kittybrewster 19:50, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
good question, I lifted the sentence from the CERN website. I presume it means that the dipole magnets which increase the beam energy from 450 GeV to 5 (or 7) TeV have to be fine-tuned in order to work at the full design energy. But I do agree that it sounds too technical. What about <... will be
used to fine-tune the magnets, so that...> Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
That also seems to me unclear. Kittybrewster 20:33, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
here is a layman explanation of what "magnet training" is: However I don't think that it would be appropriate to elaborate on that in the Timeline section. If you find a satisfying alternative to "fine-tune" to better describe the process please go ahead and make the change. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
What about reverting to "train the magnets" with a citation to the fermilab article? Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:45, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I like that. I am still thinking about how to phrase it better myself. My problem is that I don't understand it well enough. Maybe I will ask an engineer chum. Kittybrewster 21:24, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Not sure if it's notable or not for inclusion, but when the LEP was started up it took 12 hours to do the first circuit and yet LHC both directions were done in under 6 hours. Khukri 22:57, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Webcam view live[edit]

though you might want to add this --PXK T /C 00:51, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Seen that. Enjoyed it. But no. Kittybrewster 02:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

n:Talk:God machine started successfully; apocalyptic theories debunked[edit]

Someone over on Wikinews has started a pretty dreadful article on the LHC switch-on. I think they've collected every boogeyman bit that the gutter press have dreamt up and sensationalised.

I would really appreciate if someone who has been involved in development of this WP article could have a go. Apart from turning the article into something you'd expect to see in the BBC's Science and Technology section and fixing or suggesting a more reasoned title, there is the issue of making it current by covering details since switch-on, eg which basic experiments/setup procedures have been run through. Possibly the trickiest thing for a Wikipedian will be the active voice, newsy style required for Wikinews; but everyone reads news and has some idea what it should look like.

Geeky Physicist help always appreciated at Wikinews. --Brian McNeil /talk 07:40, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Tried to help, but some don't seem to be interested in listening to other opinions. All the best. Khukri 20:54, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Safety of the LHC - again???[edit]

One editor keeps modifying the Safety section, claiming that the section is very small and needs expanding. That section in its present form is the result of intense discussions on the talk page, which the editor apparently chooses to ignore. In short, the present size of the section is proportional to the relevance of the matter. Moreover, all the arguments put forward by the editor are widely discussed in the dedicated page on the Safety of the LHC, which is linked at the beginning of the section. Duplication here is not necessary. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:01, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I can see that it is widely discussed on another page but as it has been covered so much on the news a small paragraph on the main article seems appropriate. Failing to do this gives the impression it is being censored. Also edits backed up by citing reliable sources do not need to be discussed on the talk page! You do not have to ask permission on the talk page before making an edit. However deleting cited edits can be seen as vandalism! Harris578 (talk) 17:03, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Of course you don't have to ask permission but - especially in much-debated topics - it does not hurt to discuss your changes before implementing them. Normally I would have posted a message on the talk page myself before removing your edit, but that particular section has been subject of so much discussion that I thought it was not necessary (I may have overreacted, in which case I apologize). Anyway, it does not seem to me that your latest edit gives much relevant information, apart for the names of the two guys (besides, the punctuation should be corrected). I am in favor of reverting to the original sentence, but let's wait and see what other contributors think. Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:25, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Quote In short, the present size of the section is proportional to the relevance of the matter. The subject is very relevant as it has been on the news 24/7. Thus, whether it could or could not happen has nothing to do with it. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and one would expect some mention of a notable subject on the articles main page! Harris578 (talk) 17:13, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
The subject is indeed mentioned and the reader is immediately redirected to a page where all the information can be found. Sorry I have to go now let's wait and see what other contributors think. Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:29, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes I have to go as well. I have placed a POV on the article. Anyway talk soon. Harris578 (talk) 17:48, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
The safety concern has it's own article. Verbal chat 17:58, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
maybe the article is POV, maybe not, but you cant argue POV because of the size of any section I guess, Safety issues in the case of the LHC would be very much like a "Criticism" section (which has its own policy for this wiki WP:CRITICISM), if so this safety issues section should not be a whole treaty nor very long. Furthermore it has now its own article, thats great I think! --Andersmusician VOTE 21:15, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

WP:NPOV states that "We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject." Rossler and Wagner (2 people) expouse minority views, and the fact that these views have drawn significant media coverage does not change that fact. These views are described in the safety article, where they are given due weight, i.e. they are properly contextualized and contrasted with mainstream and opposing views. In fact, if these views had not drawn any reliable media coverage, then they would not even belong in the safety article in accordance with WP:NOTABILITY. I will revert to the previous discussed and agreed upon version. --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:04, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I'm not trying to represent a dispute that is held by the small minority. I am simply saying and expanding on the fact that there is a dispute! They are two different things. Were I to talk about the possibility of a doomsday scenario, fair enough! But I just think that the article has gone from one extreme to the other. I think we should elaborate on the nature of the dispute. whilst still saying the general consensus is that the experiments are safe. If you all go back and look at my edits you can see that I have not removed that or tried to say that the world will end! Harris578 (talk) 08:50, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't really understand why people want to expand our coverage of this topic. We have a huge section on this topic—so large, in fact, that it's been split off into its own page. Under the old subarticle naming system it would have been at Large Hadron Collider/Safety. The current policy is to give all articles top-level names, but that doesn't change the fact that it's clearly a subarticle. We shouldn't be duplicating that material here. All that should be here is a {{main|...}} link to the subarticle and perhaps a mention in the lede. That isn't insufficient coverage, it reflects just how extensive our coverage is. -- BenRG (talk) 11:29, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I see that the safety sentence has been expanded again by the editor Thomasedavis: "A primary concern, the appearance of micro black holes, has been dismissed due to the improbability of their production and, even if produced, their infinitesimal size and instantaneous decay." While the new sentence sounds correct, I'll try to explain why I think that this is a bad idea, god forbid that I touch the page and I am accused of vandalism again ;-)

It is true that, in every reasonable extra-dimensional model, if mBH are produced at the LHC they would be small and decay instantaneously. This should be enough to dismiss the concern. However, what do you do when somebody comes and says "yeah, but in my own pet model I throw away a few well-established physical principles and as a result I find that the mBH are stable"? One way out would of course be to debunk these pet models one-by-one, but it's Sisyphus' labor (a bit like editing Wikipedia ;-) The alternative, followed in Mangano-Giddings paper and in the LSAG report, is to say: "OK, let's assume for the sake of the argument that the mBH are stable. Is there a risk that they will destroy the earth?" And the answer is no. The way I understand their line of reasoning is that, if hypothetical mBH produced at the LHC were able to destroy the earth, the same mBH would have already been produced by cosmic-ray collisions, and they would have already been captured - if not by the earth - by denser objects such as neutron stars, leading to their destruction. The fact that we still see neutron stars means that stable mBH, if they exist at all, are not dangerous for the earth (e.g. because their rate of accretion is too slow).

The present formulation of the safety sentence does not mention the fact that the LSAG report rules out even the risk from stable black holes, and leaves the door open for the next guy to come and add "yes but Roessler says that the mBH are stable! teach the controversy!". On the other hand, most editors agree that - since we have a full article devoted to the safety issue - it is not appropriate to elaborate here on the LSAG report. In summary, I would revert to the original sentence. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:43, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Hiya. Looking at the edit. If you were to leave that edit as it is A primary concern, the appearance of micro black holes, has been dismissed due to the improbability of their production and, even if produced, their infinitesimal size and instantaneous decay. [21][22][23] It has cited 3 sources and it would be hard for anyone to find any sources to prove otherwise. Fair enough you don't want any silly talk of a doomsday scenario but that statment more or less stops it in its tracks. So it keeps you happy! and it slightly expands on the one little sentence that was there and would keep me happy. Anyway I know that I am on the minority side with this and will not persist in my argument. All the best. Harris578 (talk) 17:10, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, my point is that the present sentence is incomplete, because the LSAG report (ref.[23]) proves that there would indeed be no risk even if the mBH were stable (i.e. in the absence of "instantaneous decay"). This is what the Mangano-Giddings paper is all about. But in order to make the statement more complete we should enter a lot of detail, duplicating the discussion already given in the Safety article. This is why I proposed to revert to the old version, which basically says: "there have been safety concerns, they have been dismissed by the scientific community, read the dedicated article if you want to learn more". But I'll leave the choice to the other editors (especially Thomasedavis himself). Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 23:19, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
I suggest this alternative paragraph for the "safety of particle collisions" section:
--Phenylalanine (talk) 22:53, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Cool for me. Let's see how long it withstands the doomsayers' attacks... ;-) Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:24, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Hackers Targeted LHC[edit]

I heard a few computer hackers managed to hack into the LHC's computers. Is it worth a citation? Sources: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

maybe also and endtrial —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:19, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
yeah i came here expecting to see a portion of the article devoted to this incident only to find out that it isn't mentioned anywhere on the article at all. it's notable enough that adult swim has been making light of it in their bumpers. (talk) 10:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Section on "Practical uses"[edit]

Bugnot has added a section entitled "Practical uses", in which he claims that the results of the LHC could be used for cancer treatment, nuclear waste refusal, reducing global warming and (surprise surprise) time travel. For the first three issues he cites three times a single article from the times, and for the last he cites another british newspaper. Concerning the first three issues, just read the times article beyond the (misleading) title. It says clearly that the potential advances in cancer treatment etc. will not come from the results of the LHC (how could they?), but rather from other experimental programmes at CERN. This is also the literal meaning of the quote from Paul Collier, if you just bother to read it. For what concern time travel, it is fringe physics and has already been discussed at length on the talk page. In summary, this whole section has no place in the article. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Also the new section on the history of CERN is not relevant in this context and should be removed. Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:02, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually, cancer treatments can be created in a particle accelerator. The never-finished SSC in the US is now used to create radioisotopes used in cancer therapies, I'm not sure precisely how it's done but from what I read it's something that can be done in all particle colliders hypotheticlly. However, the LHC, once it goes live will not be used for that purpose, as are any "live" colliders, since the collision experiments are prone to irradiating the device making it unsafe for medical use. Ah, heres an article on it: -- (talk) 10:10, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The article you refer to says indeed that the magnets built for the SSC are now being used to produce radioisotopes. This is very different from saying that the physics results of the LHC can help cure cancer, which is what the editor who proposed the "Practical uses" section was claiming. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:01, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I removed the section on practical uses for the reasons stated above. I would also ask for the opinion of other contributors on the section on the history of CERN. Is it relevant in this context? And is it good Wikipedia practice to lift entire sections almost verbatim from other sources? I suspect that this section should go too. Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:41, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I removed it (before noticing your comment). It appeared to be a copyright violation, for one thing. -- BenRG (talk) 16:53, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
(By the way, it's fine to copy text wholesale into Wikipedia as long as it's not a copyright violation. The first versions of a lot of articles were copied from sources like the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica and FOLDOC. But I can't see anything on the CERN site implying that their text is available under a GFDL-compatible license.) -- BenRG (talk) 21:57, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

The last remaining change of Bugnot's wave is in the section on the hacker attack of September 10. If I remember correctly somebody had already added something similar, but it was subsequently moved to the safety page (under "other events"). It seems to me that the present formulation gives undue relevance to what is after all a minor event. I mean, it gives to this story the same relevance as to the massive "Grid" and "LHC@Home" projects. Since the event is already mentioned elsewhere and it does not add much information about the LHC itself I would revert the paragraph to its original form. Comments anyone? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:25, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

In the absence of questions or comments, I implemented the change above. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for new article:[edit]

This is just a bare-bones suggestion, and it could be completely rubbish, but I have 10 minutes spare at work and I thought I'd throw it out there to see what others think. Strikes me that there is a lot of information that could be included somewhere regarding the media's reaction to the LHC (for example the suicide relating to the Indian media), but that this is information that general consensus suggests shouldn't be in the Large Hadron Collider article, and should only be touched upon in the Safety of the Large Hadron Collider article. What about an article named Reaction of the Media to the Large Hadron Collider? It could read something along the lines of "Although sources W, X, Y and Z make it clear there are no safety problems with the LHC, person A suggested otherwise. The media in countries B, C, D and E grabbed onto this, sensationalised it, and this all led to the suicide of a girl". This could then erradicate the information from the two current articles, whilst giving it somewhere sensible to go. Thoughts? TalkIslander 16:10, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking that, too. I didn't suggest it because it's not an article I would read, write or maintain. 16:17, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
On a personal level, though I am sickened to the core that poor science compounded by headline grabbing, and the medias need to exaggerate and play on every doomsday scenario seems to have led to this young girl taking her life, I'm not sure this can be demonstrated well within Wikipedia. To create an article like that, we would be drawing conclusions, or basically just listing news outlets that will be saying the very same thing as the article. I think you almost covered it there in one sentence, which would make a very short article. I am not for or against an article being created, just think that it couldn't be written in a neutral tone, without either casting blame on the media or scaremongerers. Khukri 17:17, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Personally i wonder if this girls suicide should be mentioned at all. I mean, do we have to cover every idiot person that commits suicide because of a certain event? There are cases where a mention of suicide is appropriate. For example a case where a girls bully related suicide leads to debate about criminal laws for bullying online. Or the case where a girl's suicide about a soccer match actively contributes to a war between two nations (No, im not making this up). At the same time the Grand Theft Auto articles have one line mentions about kids who killed and robbed people because they were imitating GTA. In those cases more people were involved, with their actions having an effect upon general welfare.
But in this case, whats special about this occurrence? Sure, it received news coverage, but is there any notability other then that it has been in the news? Once the fuss about this all dies down, is this really worth including into an article about the LHC? Or even about the safety of the LHC? To me, it seems completely unrelated. Just think about the line "A girl committed suicide because of the LHC". Now chance the words "The LHC" for "her fear earth might be absorbed into a black hole". Exactly the same situation, but would that be included into the black hole article? At the same rate i could jump of a building leaving a note that i did it because i'm allergic to components in the new recipe of my favorite diet coke. Heaven forbid that that may ever be included in Wikipedia on the cokes article.
As for a separate article on this: There is no way it could comply to WP:ONEVENT or WP:NPOV. But i wholehearted agree this line doesn't belong into either article. Maybe we better get rid of it entirely? Excirial (Talk,Contribs) 19:16, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
WP:ONEVENT wouldn't be relevant, as this article wouldn't be about the girl, but about all the media hype surrounding the LHC. WP:NPOV - yes, that'd definitely be hard to get right, but I doubt impossible... TalkIslander 19:53, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi, Obviously I don't know what part of the world all you lot are typing from but in the UK the news coverage was light hearted and Tongue-in-cheek. I cant imagine anyone here getting overly worried about the world ending. I enjoyed listening to Radio 4s "Big Bang Day" last Wednesday which was quite educational with its sections on Particle physics and quantum mechanics. Anyway, one point I think we are all missing here is that with out this black hole news coverage, 99% of the British population would have been oblivious to the turning on of the LHC as it probably would have received no news coverage at all! So wasn't it a good thing as well? How many school boys want to be scientists now compared to last week? Harris578 (talk) 20:03, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Probably very few, sadly. And don't school girls get to be scientists too? Regardless, this shows well why I think a separate article might work - mention how the LHC switch-on was portrayed in the UK (where, incidently, I am), and compare/contrast to other countries, including China. TalkIslander 20:11, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that one day if they work hard enough, we will get female scientists. ;) Harris578 (talk) 20:14, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
So the article would be about "The effects of the LHC", or possibly "Perception of the LHC in different parts of the world"? Having a look at all the guidelines around, i would say that would be a incredibly tough article to write ;). Apart from the NPOV issues, how is the article going to be sourced? I haven't seen any article discussing world wide perceptions. While the article could be sourced with newspapers from all around the world, the content of those can generally be summed up as: What is the LHC, what are the dangers and perhaps a section why they don't apply. Third, what would make the article notable? If half the world would be in mass hysteria such as we had with the Y2K bug it would be easy, but for now our dear multi billion tube shaped magnet leaves most people's interest freezing, if they know about it in the first place. Excirial (Talk,Contribs) 20:33, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
"Having a look at all the guidelines around, i would say that would be a incredibly tough article to write ;)." - oh I agree completely, that's why I'm not offering to write it ;P. Just throwing the idea out there - difficult, yes, but I still say it's feasible. If no one agrees with me, then no one will write it, and this idea will dig it's own grave. TalkIslander 20:40, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

(Semi-related) Outdent As for effect of the media on this subject, have a look at the pages traffic analysis. In june this page got an average of 12k pageviews a day with a top of 32k. A month later we have about the same figures, but the average number of pageviews is actually lower. I expect that the first media releases came in august, as there is a sudden spike to 70k views, about 6x more then average. As for the real power at the media, have a look at September. This does say something about the influence media coverage can have on peoples awareness of a subject. I wonder what the effect on the LHC would have been if the media would have been fully biased towards the danger camp. I wonder if it could have shifted public opinion so far into negatives that it could have delayed or canceled the project. A well, enough speculations about this from me. Excirial (Talk,Contribs) 21:02, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

900 GeV energy collisions[edit]

Perhaps it should be noted that the first 900 GeV particle collisions at the LHC will still be below the Tevatron's 2 TeV collisions. --Phenylalanine (talk) 01:37, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


Photos a'plenty at google .gov. {{PD-USGov}} may apply to .gov images, so get to up loadin', ya'all! -- Suntag (talk) 00:53, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Start with the Extra large Images since they usually are of the best quality. -- Suntag (talk) 01:10, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposed New Name section[edit]

While the information in this section is true, and I've added a reference to a newspaper article detailing it, I've added the Content template to the section since I'm unconvinced that a competition run by a group unrelated to the LHC is really relevant in this article. Chronitis (talk) 00:00, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Then it should be deleted. (Or put in popular culture section...) At least they don't call it Black Mesa :pThe name Halo is equally badass. SYSS Mouse (talk) 04:07, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


Large Hadron Collider Renamed a) Is this relevant, at least superficially? b) Does anyone have a secondary source for this? I question Gamernode as a valid primary source. -EarthRise33 (talk) 03:53, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

The Royal Society of Chemistry in London (not LHC-affiliated scientists) held a contest to come up with a new name, and picked "Halo" as the winner. The LHC wasn't actually renamed. It was in the article but I deleted it because it seemed like random trivia more than anything else. I won't object if a regular editor thinks it's worth putting back in (presumably in the "popular culture" section). -- BenRG (talk) 10:51, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Agree, pending some "official" status for the name. It does not seem to me to be particularly apt in any case. Wwheaton (talk)

14:35, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

LHC Shut down?[edit]

Been noticing in recent news that the accelerator has been shut down because of a problem with the super cooled magnets becoming less cool, perhaps it should be mentioned in the introduction that the LHC is currently non-operational.

( ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

It's currently mentioned at the end of the second paragraph of the intro. -- BenRG (talk) 23:16, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Here's an AP story about it. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:56, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

We need to be careful with this - the media appear to be hyping this up quite a bit: although it's definitely a setback to the project, and should probably be mentioned in the article, it's hardly unexpected. With such a massively complex machine, it's to be expected that things will go wrong. TalkIslander 19:52, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Expected, yes. Gwen Gale (talk) 19:54, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi everybody. About the length of the shutdown, the only reliable source is currently the CERN press release stating that it will take at least two months before the LHC is up again. It is true however that this would bring us to the end of November, when the winter shutdown is planned anyway. BTW, the present formulation in the lead, Owing to the season... sounds a bit weird to me, as if the LHC could not work because of bad weather ;-) If we really want to mention this possibility, it would be better to replace the sentence with Owing to the planned winter shutdown... Ptrslv72 (talk) 21:27, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I hardly think readers would take a seasonal shutdown to mean "the LHC could not work because of bad weather." Please keep in mind, the AP source is clear that the LHC may not be operational again until spring, owing to the seasonal shutdown. Gwen Gale (talk) 21:37, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, your original sentence was Owing to the season, the collider may not be..., no shutdown mentioned. I just thought that it sounded funny. I still think that my proposal planned winter shutdown conveys more information than the present version, but it's not something worth arguing for. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:10, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
CERN shuts down every year for two weeks over Christmas, only minimum operations staff with very little physics being carried out. Khukri 21:50, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
The cited AP source says ...the equipment may not be running again before the planned shutdown of the equipment for the winter to reduce electricity costs. Gwen Gale (talk) 21:56, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
While it is true that CERN itself only shuts down two weeks around Christmas, the LHC operations were planned to be halted from end of November to spring 2009 (see e.g. here). Note btw that the shutdown is commonly referred to as winter shutdown not seasonal shutdown. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:10, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Only to let editors know, I wrote the word seasonal to pull the reader quickly towards thinking of the shutdown as planned, unremarkable, cyclical (which indeed it is). Gwen Gale (talk) 06:25, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
After having had a moment to read and ponder this thread, I've called it the already planned winter shutdown. Cheers, Gwen Gale (talk) 08:15, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Temperature ambiguity? The reference I gave (BBC) from the BBC said by 100 degrees, not to 100 degrees. Now I have been forwarded a blog report claiming the temerature rose "to 100 C", which is obviously quite different. I assumed the degrees could not be Fahrenheit for a European scientific context, and put "100 kelvins" into the article (since K & C degrees are the same size), but this now appears to be in doubt. I do not have time to check this further at the moment; can someone else look into it? The CERN press release (CERN PR) does not give the 100 degree figure at all, so it must have come from some other source. It seems to me 100 C could have the potential to damage materials in the cryogenic system, so it might be important. Thanks --- Wwheaton (talk) 21:15, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The BBC report is unequivocal that the temperature increase was "as much as" 100 degrees; they certainly mean Celsius/Kelvin. They're more reliable than any blog report, I should think. -- SCZenz (talk) 22:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC) Bottom left graph, Sector 3-4. Looks like 100 Kelvin to me. CyberDragon (talk) 05:29, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, nice link; that settles it, 100 K it is. Wwheaton (talk) 08:16, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I think this is relevant towards the openness and trustworthiness of CERN people.

The world's largest particle collider malfunctioned within hours of its launch to great fanfare, but its operator didn't report the problem for a week. What else would they hide? I think that this incident should be mentioned in the main article under "accidents and delays", together with the other incident which caused the LHC to be closed down for two months.--LF1975 (talk) 12:12, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This is mistaken. I invite you to review the history of the article edits, which shows that our initial report here (later removed due to lack of a source) went in at 14:08 on 19 September. That original post reported the fault occurred at 11:06 on the same day, barely 2 hours earlier. My post with the (BBC reference) went in at 04:09 the following day. There was a (much less serious) transformer fault a day or so earlier, which had been reported earlier, but maybe some confusion in the media between the two. But also, note the fascinating and detailed (CERN Hardware Commissioning pages) which give the story practically in real time. These are obviously intended for internal use, but there they are, unprotected for public viewing, hardly the mark of a super-secret outfit trying to cover its nefarious doings. (I sincerely hope it stays that way, despite the problems such openness brings upon any controversial organization.) I hope also that we here will be careful not to cast aspersions on other people's good faith (not just wiki editors, but also CERN, and LHC critics) without very good cause. We are all paranoid enough without such crazy-making charges flying around. Cheers Wwheaton (talk) 19:44, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I did mention the tranformer failure in an edit summary last week and it was common knowledge then, see here Khukri 22:15, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
To use that for a section on "openness and trustworthiness" would violate Wikipedia's policy on original research. -- SCZenz (talk) 13:19, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Also to state an operator managed to hide from his bosses that a transformer had blown and that a 27km particle accelerator didn't happen to be running is laughable. People tend to notice when something as innocuous as the world largest particle accelerator has broken down! It was in the news last week, and it didn't break down within hours of the startup. There are going to be lots of stops to the LHC over the next couple of years due to breakdowns, and problems, this is normal. The two month shutdown is a minor problem that on a normal accelerator would take a day or so to repair, the reason it is so long is to heat up and cool the system back down again. Watch this space there's going to be lots of brakdowns, and just because CERN doesn't post you an e-mail about it doesn't mean they are hiding. Khukri 13:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I think "its operator" in the AP report meant "CERN." Apparently the Director General is supposed to hold a press conference every time there's a routine equipment failure. -- SCZenz (talk) 17:50, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Section on Construction Accidents and delays[edit]

Hi, various editors keep adding information on the magnet quench in the section on Construction Accidents and Delays, apparently without realizing that the same information is already provided in the Test Timeline section. We should reorder and perhaps rename those two sections to avoid confusion. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:06, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This is not mentioned in the article and it should.--LF1975 (talk) 12:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Why? it is a minor problem with very little relevance (especially when compared with the magnet accident). We don't have to report every time the LHC operations are halted for a couple of days. Besides, it is old news - you can find it in the times article, ref.[17].

My problem with this section is that we report here delays and accidents that happened in the past during the construction of the LHC, while we report in the Test Timeline section major events related to the operation of the LHC (such as the magnet quench). I find it understandable that even some good-faith editors get confused by the naming and want to mention the magnet quench among the "construction accidents". Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:59, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I did so, too. It definitely belongs in the Delays section - that's where I first looked, and was surprised not to find it. Slight duplication of info is of lesser concern than getting the info quickly from the logical place... --Janke | Talk 19:23, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

CERN Press Release: Restart in 2009[edit]

Now it's official, there will be no beam before the winter shutdown. It's time to reorganize/rationalize the "Test Timeline" and "Construction Accidents and Delay" sections... Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 18:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

How are the protons accelerated?[edit]

I think an article about a particle accelerator should explain how the particles are actually accelerated, but ours doesn't. The article on particle accelerators is very vague on the topic, and the best I could find is a red link to microvave cavity in the synchotron article. It appears that Klystrons are also somehow involved. AxelBoldt (talk) 02:22, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Our job on this article is not to describe how a particle accelerator works - that's for the particle accelerator article. It's kinda like how you wouldn't expect an article on fairy lights to explain how light bulbs work. TalkIslander 16:10, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Different accelerators work differently, so it's our job in this particular article to explain how this particular accelerator works. If this accelerator belongs to a class of machines that all work alike, then the article needs to point the reader to the general information about that class and then give the information that is specific to this one machine. AxelBoldt (talk) 20:53, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
FYI, I think basically the accelerator sections are bits of linear accelerator, sandwiched in between the bending and focusing magnets. These large separated-function accelerators simplify their problems by having disjoint sections that are specialized to bending, focusing, "cooling", accelerating, beam monitoring, experimental instrument etc, parts, strung together like beads on a wire. The radio-frequency (RF) power to the accelerating sections has to be carefully synchronized with the passes of the particle bunches through the accelerating sections, so the particles gain energy instead of losing it. It might not be a bad idea to have a one or two sentence description of the distinct kinds of function and the hardware that accomplishes it (especially the layout, structure, and details unique to the LHC), but we need to maintain balance, and should use wikilinks to the particle accelerator and other articles to avoid a mess of redundant (& hard to maintain consistently) information. Wwheaton (talk) 20:04, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi, it would not cost an arm just to mention in one short sentence which type of RF cavities are used for this accelerator. Alain Michaud (talk) 22:29, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Adding a popular culture reference[edit]

Could an established registered user please add the novel Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer as a reference in popular culture? The link to the Wikipedia page of this novel is —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

It was in there but I deleted it because the novel doesn't seem to involve the LHC in anything but name. It appears Sawyer just took terms like "LHC" and "Higgs boson" that had been in the news and used them as technobabble in his completely unrelated story. But, as always, I won't object if a regular editor thinks it's worth putting back in. -- BenRG (talk) 11:04, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Bending two opposite beams[edit]

Since two beams are circling in opposite directions, how do the bending magnets work? I would assume that a magnet that bends one beam in the proper direction will bend the other beam in the wrong direction, based on the right-hand-rule of the Lorentz force. Or does each beam get its own bending magnets that operate in opposite polarity? AxelBoldt (talk) 20:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

There are two separate beam pipes, with opposite magnetic fields around them, to bend each beam in the appropriate direction. Both directions share the same cooling system, though, which is why you only see one line of magnets in pictures of the tunnels. -- SCZenz (talk) 21:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Cool. Thanks SCZenz —Preceding unsigned comment added by CaptinJohn (talkcontribs) 15:11, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Doesn't the "Design" paragraph miss some historical notes? When was it decided to build the LHC? How long did it take to design it, and then to built its components? I will look for some references. Kromsson (talk) 08:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

LHC needs semi-protection[edit]

Attacks have started instantly, its very popular, see the stats [1]Orion11M87 (talk) 22:34, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

The vandalism isn't too bad so far. You can make a report on WP:RFPP if it gets worse. J.delanoygabsadds 22:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
The current levels of vandalism don't warrent protection of any sort. If it gets worse and I notice, I'll protect it. If I don't notice, make a request at WP:RFPP, or give me a shout on my talk page. TalkIslander 22:58, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for relaying my message, thats exactly what I meant to say. Just to be sure we are ready in any case if the tsunami hits back... Cheers! :) — Orion11M87 (talk) 23:11, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

The LHC was built by Seymore Butts European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),[edit]

Looks like we have a vandal at

"Seymore Butts"??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

"Why are there apparent violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter? because yo mama said so. See also CP-violation." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Looks like this vandalism was removed one minute before your message was saved here [2]. --Kralizec! (talk) 18:48, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Both instances have been reverted. Thanks for reporting it. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 13:53, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Technical language in the lead[edit]

Hi, I am having a discussion with another editor on whether due to the arc-magnet quench incident is too technical for the lead or not. In my understanding the lead is supposed to be accessible to every reader and the details should be given in the main body of the article. Nobody knows what a magnet quench is unless he/she is a physicist or has already read some technical description of the topic. Besides, the present formulation (THE incident) sounds as if it was well known to everybody that there has been an incident. I also don't think it is necessary to specify that the incident involved the arc-magnets as opposed to other kinds of magnets (btw, in the CERN press release it is not mentioned which magnets had the faulty wiring: perhaps someone can provide a reference for that?). In summary, I would change to a more generic sentence, like due to an incident involving the superconducting magnets or something to that effect. Does any of the other usual contributors have an opinion about this? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 14:19, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree that both "arc-magnet" and "quench" are too technical for the lead; the former is LHC jargon really. I would wikilink "quench" to Magnet_quench (as is already done) in the section of the article where the incident is described, and even in the body of the article replace "arc-magnet" with "bending-magnet", which has a slight hope of being intelligible to anyone who has any knowledge at all of particle accelerators.
Firstly, Ptrslv72, I agree with you on "of the sparticles predicted by supersymmetry." I had different thoughts on that so I added a comma, but however, yours makes a much better sense.
Secondly. The "arc-magnet quench incident" is simply implied as the name of the event(incident) rather than an explanation, instead of the previously written "a failure". While the arc-magnet is a LHC specific, it simply uses the meaning of arc. So "arc-magnets" is a LHC name implied from arc, while "bending-magnets" is a general descriptive name. For now, I am adding the link to Large Hadron Collider#Construction accidents and delays. So it is up to everyone to make a decision on whether to have the name of the event or a description.
Thirdly, the explanation in Construction accidents and delays should be a little more(or better) detailed. Not to be used but as a summery, due to the sector 3-4 dipole arc-magnet quench, the Bus bar heated and leaked 1 ton of cryo-helium(that is liquid He) in the LHC tunnel. (Note: since the investigation is not done yet, the Bus bar or the location-within is not confirmed, and the whole problem is suspected to be from a problematic weld.)Orion11M87 (talk) 06:19, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Kudos to Orion for looking for a compromise, even if he did not accept any of my suggestions on the sentence due to THE ARC-magnet QUENCH incident ;-) I would still prefer due to AN incident involving the bending magnets, for the three reasons that were stated above, but it's not something worth starting an editing war about. I am however still slightly puzzled by the use of arc-magnet: can you provide references where the LHC magnets are called that way? (possibly in some outreach page, not some over-technical internal document). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:41, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Ptrslv72! As the to the technicality, as I said before: "So it is up to everyone to make a decision on whether to have the name of the event or a description." So if you think a description should be used instead of the problem name, you can change it. I really don't have a perspective on how should it be, all I wrote was the name of problem, not a description which explains. As to arc-magnets, it can be seen with the yellow key at — Orion11M87 (talk) 22:06, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Heh heh your link seems to prove my (and Wwheaton's) point that arc-magnet is LHC jargon. That's why I asked for some outreach reference as opposed to super-technical internal document... BTW, do you know for sure that the accident involved the arc magnets and not the inner triplets or the LSS magnets (whatever they are)? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 23:44, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
It did involve the bending magnets, as can be seen from Cooldown status page - sector 3-4. (The inner triplets are marked as green squares, but there are none in sector 3-4. The fault seemed to have occurred roughly in the middle of the long blue line at the left, at least as the plot stands tonight.) I think I am going to change the lead to suppress the jargon, there's no real need for it. Incidentally one of the other LHC pages I saw last night says they cannot resume normal operation until 1 May. Are these internal pages suitable for use as sources? They are not stable, of course, and the LHC project might prefer not to attract casual public viewing. Yet I am glad they are open for those interested in the guts of the machine. Wwheaton (talk) 04:59, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

"signs of new physics"[edit]

In the "Detectors" section it says, "Atlas will be used to look for signs of new physics..." That sounds to me like it will be trying to detect physicists scratching their heads. Erikmartin (talk) 01:40, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

"new physics" is commonly used in particle physics with the meaning of "physics beyond the Standard Model". But if you find that jargon too cryptic you can propose an alternative. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:39, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I think you just proposed a reasonable alternative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Mass of He lost in quench[edit]

I see User:Fanman904 has reverted User:Ptrslv72's change of the He mass lost into the tunnel from 1 ton (in the original BBC report) to 6 tons. I do not at once see the figure 6 tons in the CERN press release on the subject of 16 October. Ptrslv72, could you point out where that 6 ton number comes from? It does sound more plausible to me, as something like half the 3-4 sector seems to have come up to 100K, way above the critical point (~ 5 K) of He, so about 1/16 of the ring seems to have been affected, with the total mass of LHe is nearly 100 tons. Thus it is not clear which figure is correct. Thanks -- Wwheaton (talk) 03:32, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Check this link, it's the in depth technical report that is linked from the page you list.

[3] About halfway down page 3.

About 2 t of helium, corresponding to the volume contained in the magnet cold mass of subsectors 19-21, 23-25 and 27-29, were rapidly discharged and eventually released to the tunnel, producing a cloud which triggered the oxygen deficiency hazard detectors installed on the tunnel vault and tripped an emergency stop, thus switching off all electrical power and services from sector 3-4. In the subsequent leakage from the open circuits, and before restoration of electrical power enabled to actuate cryogenic valves, another 4 t of helium were lost, though at much lower flow rates. The total loss of inventory thus amounts to about 6 t, out of 15 t initially in the sector. (talk) 08:27, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

I changed the article to cite this report instead of the BBC. I wish Wikipedia didn't treat the BBC as a reliable source for science news, they never seem to get anything right. -- BenRG (talk) 10:34, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah sorry I did not follow this discussion over the weekend. I thought I had read the 6 tons figure in the CERN press release but it was hidden in the technical report instead. Thanks BenRG for taking care of the issue, all is well that ends well. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:31, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Inauguration in the lead[edit]

Hi everybody, it seems to me that the description of the Oct 21 ceremony in the lead is far too detailed (and not so relevant). It should definitely be condensed. I might do it myself after collecting some feedback. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:21, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. We should have a subsection on CERN's September 10 and October 21 publicity efforts, and most of the details should go there. -- SCZenz (talk) 15:54, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I condensed the lead. If somebody (not me) wants to write the subsection on the publicity efforts, be our guest. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 23:56, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

hadron velocity[edit]

how come the introduction states that the LHC speeds up protons to 99.99% the speed of light when the real velocity is about 99.999999% c —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:47, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Good point. so the actual value for v/c is sqrt(1 - (1 / (((7 TeV) / (938 MeV))^2))) = 0.999999991 = 99.9999991%. In other words, exactly what you said. The trouble is, it will seem pedantic to our readers to put in that many nines, so normally we'd like to round -- but rounding gives you the speed of light, which is physically wrong. Any ideas, anyone? -- SCZenz (talk) 11:01, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I would give the correct number, in physics is better to be pedantic than wrong. Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:01, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
ok, done. it occurs to me that if people change it back, we should add an html comment explaining the situation -- SCZenz (talk) 13:30, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I have noticed the speed before, but somehow never got the chance to change it.
Yea, it would be the wrong representation of the LHC. At 99.99% the speed of light, it is almost comparable to the speed reached by the Proton Synchrotron. — Orion11M87 (talk) 14:01, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Meh, get rid of percentages, which are out of their depth here. Convert both speeds (hadrons and photons) to SI units and just list them for comparison. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 19:31, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd much favor either percent or fraction-of-c here, as the important thing is the comparison (to c), and absolute SI units seem much less meaningful in this context. NB 0.999999991 of c corresponds to 2.6981321 m/s less than c--which latter makes me yawn. IHMO. Wwheaton (talk) 07:23, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
In this case the point is how closely the speed approaches C, therefore IMHO a precise percentage is a good way to do it, with sufficient decimal places to reach a non 9. ϢereSpielChequers 12:09, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
It is not the phrase that appears in the introduction. The statement "beams of protons or lead ions, each moving at about 99.9999991%" is incorrect. Shall we leave it as in the source? Alexander Mayorov (talk) 00:19, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
There is indeed at least one place on the CERN web site that says 99.99%c, but that is a slip up and not really correct, except that 99.99% is not so very different from 99.9999991%, in a certain sense. However, if you compute it correctly based on 7 TeV proton energy, you find that 99.9999991% is right, and this same number appears elsewhere in the CERN documentation. Wwheaton (talk) 09:51, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I think Mayorov's point is that, whereas protons will be moving that fast, lead ions won't. (I'm not sure about the energy they will have, but if they are so fast they'll have over 200 times the energy of protons, i.e. about 1400 TeV.) -- Army1987 (t — c) 10:14, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, the article says they'll have 1150 TeV, so they won't be moving much slower than that. -- Army1987 (t — c) 10:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Somewhat slower, though. The LHC will collide lead-208, which has a mass of 207.9766521 atomic mass units, whereas a proton has a mass of 1.00727638 amu. Thus we have v/c = sqrt(1 - (1 / (((1150 TeV) / ((207.9766521 / 1.00727638) * 938 MeV))^2))) = 0.999999986 = 99.9999986%. Interestingly, both the proton and lead velocities round to 99.999999%. Perhaps that's the number we should have -- epsecially because by far the dominant uncertainty here is the energy the LHC achieves! -- SCZenz (talk) 10:40, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we should quote that figure in the lead (where it applies to both protons and Pb ions), but use at least one non-nine digit in the section which specifically refers to protons. That is, the reverse of what is now in the article. Also, (7.0 ± 0.5) TeV for protons corresponds to 0.999 999 9910(13) c, and I doubt that the uncertainty on the energy is much larger than that. -- Army1987 (t — c) 13:03, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

A topic on the Higgs bozon, Higgs field, Delta-E field, Ether and the Vacuum.[edit]

Dear reader,

I would like to open up a topic on discussing energy travel faster than light. I think that light being a fundamental principal about the limit of speed of energy traveling in open space.

Prof Dr. Lijun Wang Chair of Experimental Physics at the Division II of the Max-Planck Research Group at the University of Erlangen with NEC corporation carried out the following research experiment reported on July 20 2000:

The question i am wondering about is if energy can travel speeds several factors faster then light, then how does it actually do it, what is the intermediary layer in which energy travels ? Such speeds of traveling energy pulses were also observed using scalar longitudinal electromagnetic waves also used in RFID technology.

Observation of scalar longitudinal electrodynamic waves, C. Monstein and J. P. Wesley, Europhysics Letters 59 (4), pp. 514-520, 2002.

Prof. Konstantin Meyl, 1st Annual RFID Eurasia Conference & Exhibitions 2007, Istanbul, IEEE

My observation is, that the key point is in the interaction of the traveling waves with not just matter if you like, but pure energy itself. The less the traveling wave have interaction/interference with objective energies, the faster and further it can travel. I think that this is the key point of the Higgs field too according to a lecture i saw at the University of California, USA. If there were no Higgs field, then one could move its hand without any limit or any objects could move in the ether without any objection. The point i am trying to make is that without an underlying structure of the ether, order would not be possible in 3d space. Matter can not just "pass by" each other, so there must be a field that >relates< all matter and energy and this supposed to be the Higgs field if i am right. An underlying structure of the 3d field upon which all energy lies, the "floor" if you like. If one understands this then you will see that if the Higgs field exists, then our possibilities with energy unfold significantly. One such researcher on the field was also Dr. Nikola Tesla whom experiment with wireless energy transfer.

Apparatus for transmitting electrical energy (large capacity through the ether), Dr. Nikola Tesla , US Patent# 1,119,732, January 18, 1902

Another interesting publication is by Dr. Ervin Racz from the Central Physics Laboratory of the National Science Institute of Hungary

ECLIM 2002: 27th European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter, Editor(s): Oleg N. Krokhin, SergeyY.Gus'kov, Yury A. Merkul'ev

I am more than interested in what your opinion is. Please find more information on scalar waves at :

More information can also be found on my website at

Zoltan Papp (28/10/2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Konor org (talkcontribs) 18:21, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

What you have written seems somewhat opaque, but I have not read it carefully. Anyway, it seems somewhat out of our scope here. Propagation of light at faster than the speed of light in vacuum is covered at Faster-than-light. Note, though, that Wikipedia is not a medium for original research. We cover only material that has been published in reliable sources external to the encyclopedia. Wikipedia's talk pages are not for general discussion of subjects, but rather are to be focused on discussion related to improving the articles. We are building an encyclopedia here. We are not a physics chat room.--Srleffler (talk) 04:30, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Another place you might take this would be to Talk:Special relativity, where a discussion has been on-going about a related issue for three weeks. This is a matter of fundamental physics and thus does not really fit here in an article about a particular research facility, but I believe the consensus among physicists is that the speed limit has little to do with light itself, but rather something to do with the structure of spacetime, the nature of time, and the meaning of causality. Note that the limit appears to be not only the speed of light, but of gravity (gravitons) and massless particles in general. For a long time we thought it applied to neutrinos also, but now we know they have mass. Wwheaton (talk) 21:32, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Keeping [everyone] calm[edit]

HEY PEOPLE: how 'bout let's please not express the beam energy in terms of explosives. The stupid people are already all whipped up about this being dangerous. It's why in the early days, NASA specifically requested reporters not to refer to explosive or destructive energy when describing the Mercury/Redstone booster rocket. In the small summary I added to the intro, I talked about the momentum of a freight train. That is something they can visualize. The explosive force of a ton of TNT is not.

And for a similar reason, and at risk of my sounding pedantic, can we not refer to the Higgs Boson as the "God Particle" or the LHC as the "God Machine"? That's a trigger word among the idiocracy, and , uh, God only knows what it will make some of them think. TechnoFaye Kane 23:16, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

TNT vs a freight train seems like a wash to me. They're both dangerous in an industrial-accident kind of way, not in the dies-irae kind of way that people seem to be worrying about. I think it would be a huge step forward if we could convince people that the LHC was merely as dangerous as an oil refinery.
I agree that we shouldn't use the phrases "God Particle" or "God Machine" in the article, and currently we don't. -- BenRG (talk) 00:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
And I would be pleased to see a similar avoidance of "Big Bang", as the connection is peripheral. Wwheaton (talk) 06:41, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Freight or not freight, since we are writing about science, shouldn't we use metric units? What are miles doing there??? ;-) Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:02, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Metric units are required! Big Bang should be mentioned, because LHC is going to create conditions billionth of a second after the Big Bang. Happy editing. — Orion11M87 (talk) 05:37, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that's the kind of dubious comparison that Wwheaton was suggesting we not make. For any given temperature there was a time when the average temperature of the universe was that temperature. Heck, even a sunny day "recreates the conditions" of a few million years after the big bang—that's 99.9% of the way back. These comparisons are mostly just hype and ignore the fact that similar conditions exist in the universe today, just not everywhere as they did back then. And I think the big bang comparisons really do scare people by misleading them into thinking that what's happening at the LHC is new in the course of human history. -- BenRG (talk) 13:06, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree on the scare of creating a micro Big Bang. But the LHC was built to study the Big Bang; As we learn new physics, we will be able to tell how the super force behaved, and how the quantum inflation happened. — Orion11M87 (talk) 19:03, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Certainly it is relevant to Big Bang physics, but important as that is, we are really after the most fundamental laws of nature here, how the things work at the deepest level. That will have consequences everywhere, of course. It's not about the Big Bang, is it? I think our article is reasonably balanced, I just want to continue fending off the tabloid attempts to turn the LHC into a circus.  :) Wwheaton (talk) 13:38, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree Wwheaton. The LHC does have strong connections to the Big Bang, but it can be certainly avoided. So the article is balanced. Cheers. — Orion11M87 (talk) 14:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Stunning display of arrogance there Faye! That kind of talk is not going to help the LHC's case. The main stupid thing you have been promoting is that you are expecting to produce black holes. And the first I knew of it was watching some official CERN video footage: one of your scientists saying 'but we think they will probably evaporate' and then no further explanation, so if anybody deserves the term 'idiocracy' it is you lot. (talk) 02:24, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "herd" and "idiocracy" are not the best language to use, though here on the talk pages we need some freedom to express our instincts freely and quickly. So I have re-reverted the removal of the previous comment. We do need to remember that not everyone has the advantage of knowledge and education, and those that do not often do not realize their lack, and it is not their fault in any case. On the other hand we are enjoined to be courteous here to each other, and there is less excuse for violations among ourselves. I think I will suppress "herd" in the subject line, though. Best, Wwheaton (talk) 03:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks to BenRG (talk) for fixing the temporal sequence above. I am still a bit confused about how to answer an earlier comment when there have been intervening remarks. If we observe a strict temporal, lower-is-later rule, then the time sequence is unambiguous, but it may be difficult to determine which earlier comment is being addressed. And reading the original remark, one could easily miss a much later answer to it. Any suggestions? Probably Wikipedia has a solution to this one, but I haven't learned it yet. I've tried to use indentation, but that is an imperfect solution. I suppose we could echo the date and editor of the post we are responding to, but that could get pretty cumbersome and probably confusingly tangled too. Wwheaton (talk) 18:51, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I just restored the "Stunning display of arrogance" post above by (talk), (of which I was a bit critical) because I think we should not mess with people's comments on the talk pages except in extreme cases. I guess (looking at my 15 Oct comment) I had restored it previously. This is a borderline case, just want to preserve the sense of the discussion. Wwheaton (talk) 04:15, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

It's over a month old Will, I would suggest putting it in the archive now as is, to stop any more modification of it. Cheers Khukri 08:57, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
That's fine with me -- Bill Wwheaton (talk) 20:02, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I think this discussion misses an important point. It's Wikipedia's goal to write a good article that is in line with Wikipedia policies rather than to further our own personal aims, such as

  • convince people that the LHC was merely as dangerous as an oil refinery
  • not refer to the Higgs Boson as the "God Particle"
  • make sure that we don't scare people by misleading them into thinking that what's happening at the LHC is new in the course of human history
  • fend off the tabloid attempts to turn the LHC into a circus

As instructed (talk) 18:43, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

What is the name of the argument?[edit]

Some people thought that the LHC would destroy the world. Now what is the argument called that is basically "Always say that anything that means the end of the world is false, because if you are wrong then it won't matter and if you are right then you don't look like a fool". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

What happened to the pic?[edit]

Hi, what happened to the pic accompanying this article? Simoncpu (talk) 07:11, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Delayed again[edit]

New restart date is late spring 2010. The He tank rupture was bad enough the tunnel level room personnel avoided getting suffocated by just pure luck. The He tanks will need redesign too have 3x as much rupture disks and dump valves to be able to cope with massive faults and electrical wiring will need to be made twice redundant. Tunnel will have to be returned to man-rated conditions for all those work. Restart in late 2009 is not possible, because late autumn and winter period electricity prices are not affordable, the LHC will only run spring to September. It will be 2012 at the earliest when new, solid, valuable science gets produced at LHC. (talk) 14:54, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Face-sad.svg --Closedmouth (talk) 16:24, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Utter rubbish, there was no helium tank rupture, the helium came from the magnet which was ruptured, read this may help you get some of your information right. It will cost around 45 million swiss (Beeb has 14 millions pounds) to repair, and latest estimates is it will be up n trucking around April/May time. There has been access to the tunnels since very shortly afterwards on the 19th september, no idea what "man rated" is, it's certainly not one of the access states to the LHC. Don't know where you get your ideas about electricity prices from this is patently false, LHC was and is planned to run through up to Christmas shutdowns, as was the LEP before it. And your idea of valuable science is also wrong as data is being gathered all the time from the detectors, just not from collisions. Khukri 22:16, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Face-grin.svg --Closedmouth (talk) 04:29, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Our latest reliable sources say late May or early June. -- SCZenz (talk) 15:36, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually the latest reliable source is this presentation by CERN's Joerg Wenninger (see also this blog), declaring that the beam will not restart before late summer 2009. There might even be no beam at all in 2009 if they decide to upgrade the pressure relief valves in all the magnets. According to the talk (see slide 46) the final decision on the schedule might be taken in February. The slides also contain a lot of (technical) information on what exactly happened on September 19. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:22, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm familiar with that talk. Whatever my personal opinion -- and believe me I have one -- I do not think that an internal talk that is a first-choice reliable source for Wikipedia. However, the talk is now getting wider coverage. I'll leave it to others to decide when it ought to be included. -- SCZenz (talk) 06:23, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I was not proposing to quote Wenninger's talk in the article, because it is far too technical. On the other hand, I don't see any reason to question the reliability of the information, as it comes directly from somebody in the accelerator group. But the cnet article that you found, with the late summer statement made by Gillis, is definitely Wikipedia material and I think should be included. Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:04, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Yep, the "late" in "late summer" is relevant since it limits the amount of work that could be done with the beam (running on reduced power) before a possible winter shutdown in late 2009. If the two options are (a) late summer with reduced power, or (b) a more complete overhaul with a new pressure relief system on all sections, taking us to 2010, then they'll obviously prefer to be up and running ASAP ... but if they go for option (a), and things overrun, and we get to the winter shutdown period (taking us to 2010 anyway), then folks might wish they'd gone for the more thorough option (b). I guess the decision depends on the degree of confidence that people want to place on the "late summer" estimate for (a). ErkDemon (talk) 23:20, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

One editor has changed the expected starting date in the lead from "summer" to "July", quoting an interview of an ATLAS physicist to a swedish newspaper (he/she also updated a section that was still referring to "spring"). In view of the information that I quoted above, which comes directly from a member of the CERN accelerator group, July seems a bit too specific to me (and not really late summer). I would rather revert to "summer". What do the other editors think about it? Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I think "summer," or perhaps "late summer" will do for now. -- SCZenz (talk) 06:23, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Well, first of all, I'm sorry but I didn't notice the discussion here on the talkpage. The section I first edited said spring 2009 so I figured it was pretty straightforward to update to July. I got July from a radio interview with Kerstin Jon-And (who apparently is the CB Chairperson on the executive board of the ATLAS project [4], hopefully she's not making things up). So it's word for word what she said in the interview. Anyway, late July (as she says (which I probably should have written instead of simply 'July')) is late summerish I think, and that then agrees perfectly with ptrslv72s source that says "Plan A: (...) late summer. Most likely!"
So, while I don't doubt the truthiness of either source I think my source is probably a little more informal and might reflect the actual dates that have been discussed on meetings or something, and the presentation is the more formal and safe "late summer".
Anyway, I don't feel strongly about either version (they are both correct in my opinion), as long as the article doesn't say "spring" I'm happy. (But I also think my source is a perfect high quality one and shouldn't be dismissed simply because it's in Swedish). So, the question is whether we should go with safer "late summer" or more specific (but less safe "late july". :)
Apis (talk) 06:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
(This is my translation of the relevant part of what she said if anyone is curious: "The latest estimate that I have heard is that the machine is going to be cooled down in the beginning of July, and we can hope to get collisions sometime in the end of July.")
Apis (talk) 06:35, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Personally I would just say summer, at the moment it's a game of pin the tail on the donkey and there will be lots of speculation, but there won't be a clear idea until february I think at the earliest. Khukri 07:44, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Don't really think they are just guessing here, they have come up with a schedule and if things goes as planed they should be up and running at the end of july. They might be done before that or after that of course, but the "pin the tail on the donkey" analogy is flawed.
Apis (talk) 09:20, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
"...and if things goes as planed..." - very amusing. Hence the fairly accurate pin the tail on the donkey analogy. TalkIslander 09:42, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Sorry if you misunderstood, I didn't mean to imply guessing, but at the moment there are too many variables to take into account, where decisions won't be taken until February at the earliest for us to put specific months in the article. This included, possible xray/testing of all the other connectors, replacement of the broken magnets beam lines, possible dump valve modifications, etc. So far we have the official CERN position, a presentation, which is in itself states a lot of possibles and probables, and reliable 3rd party sources like BBC etc who are relying on the CERN information. I myself have a number of works that rely on these modifications and startup etc, and at the moment everyone here is just waiting to see what the updates are. So I think pin the tail on the donkey is quite correct, trying to pin the start up down to a specific month would be wrong with the evidence and the sources we have at hand. Khukri 10:07, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I just mean that whenever you make an estimate you could call it "pin the tail on the donkey". But I guess you have more inside knowledge here than I do.
Apis (talk) 23:27, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I replaced both occurrences of "July" (and even one stray "June") with "summer". I also replaced the reference to the swedish article with the article from CNET that reports on the CERN internal presentation, but I am not against including the swedish article if Apis O-tang insists. In addition, I removed a sentence on the winter shutdown (leftover from the time when the LHC was expected to restart in spring) as well as the sentence on the magnet training to 7 TeV (it is not clear now if the 2009 run will be at 7 TeV/beam). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:27, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Funding priorities[edit]

Should "David King, the former Chief Scientific Officer for the United Kingdom, has criticised the LHC for taking a higher priority for funds than solving the Earth's major challenges; principally climate change, but also population growth and poverty in Africa.[32]" be in the "Cost" section? Brian Gunderson (talk) 01:43, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

I would say Definitely not, as the question of funding priorities for basic research takes us far afield from the LHC, but requires consideration of the costs and benefits of all funding candidates. Just balancing funding for applied versus basic research is a huge and difficult subject. The cost of the LHC is an important input into such priority decisions (along with the possible benefits, and the likelihoods of their being realized). Since the LHC is largely complete, the calculation should be based on the benefits versus the marginal costs to finish and operate. I think our article here needs to summarize the costs, and describe the expected benefits—which I personally believe are essentially cultural, applications being far beyond our ability to foresee. (As Faraday reportedly said, "Of what use is a baby?" But we all still consider it worthwhile to feed them.) Wwheaton (talk) 03:01, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I also think that the LHC article is not the right place to discuss the views of one guy on the funding priorities for fundamental research. I removed the sentence on David King, feel free to argue if you want to bring it back. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:13, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
He's not the only one to think so, but there are surprisingly few who agree with that view, especially in the scientific community. I think the subject is interesting enough but a single persons opinion clearly isn't notable enough to warrant inclusion and it only reflect one persons POV. A more nuanced discussion might be in order if there where good sources available.
Apis (talk) 23:48, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Just to clarify: the sentence has been there for a while, Brian Gunderson was just expressing his doubts about it. It looks like we all agree that it had to be removed. If anybody wants to propose a nuanced (and sourced) discussion on the costs debate please come forward. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:33, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
It would be very interesting to seriously address funding priorities in general in an article dedicated to that subject, reaching across wider boundaries of the kinds of benefits, not just applied/basic, but utilitarian/cultural/humanistic, etc, etc. The trouble is nobody knows how to do that, to compare apples and oranges, to reduce such disparate values to some common currency. We all have instincts, gut feelings, about such matters, but until we really have deeper insight, I cannot see how such an article could be written that was not just a collection of people's feelings and pronouncements, memorable one liners, like Faraday's. As was recently said, this is "above my pay grade". Wwheaton (talk) 05:08, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

19 September 2008 Anomally discussed in Science this week[edit]

The latest issue of Science[6] has an extensive and fairly troubling discussion of the 19 September magnet fault. It is of course much less detailed than the Joerg Wenninger talk referred to above, but it is no longer an internal document, but should qualify as a reliable source, now being in the permanent archival literature. (The web link needs a subscription to access, but the paper version should arrive in libraries within a few days.) Anyhow, it seems to me it gives enough that we should really consider a separate section in the main article about it, as it is truly a major incident due to a design flaw in the machine that cannot be completely fixed--meaning there is some danger of a recurrence, even though some partial fixes (which should reduce the damage to a single magnet) are being implemented:

The pressure built up in the magnet casings because only every fourth one had an emergency relief valve and those were too small to release the errant helium into the LHC tunnel quickly enough. To correct that shortcoming, workers will install a larger valve on every casing, the report says.

It was this pressure surge that did most of the physical damage. In total 53 of the large bending magnets are being removed from the tunnel, 39 to be repaired and the remainder to be cleaned so that high vacuum can be restored in the beam pipes.

"It absolutely must not be allowed to happen again," says CERN's Lyn Evans, who leads the LHC project. "It's a machine on the edge, and all effort must go into learning the warning signs" of trouble.

  1. ^ Boyle, Alan (2 September 2008). "Courts weigh doomsday claims". Cosmic Log.
  2. ^ Blaizot JP, Iliopoulos J, Madsen J, Ross G, Sonderegger P, Specht H (2003). Study of Potentially Dangerous Events During Heavy-Ion Collisions at the LHC. CERN. Geneva. CERN-2003-001.
  3. ^ Ellis J, Giudice G, Mangano ML, Tkachev I, Wiedemann U (LHC Safety Assessment Group) (5 September 2008). "Review of the Safety of LHC Collisions". ''Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics. 35, 115004 (18pp). doi:10.1088/0954-3899/35/11/115004. CERN record. arXiv:0806.3414.
  4. ^ "The safety of the LHC". CERN 2008 (CERN website).
  5. ^ "Statement by the Executive Committee of the DPF on the Safety of Collisions at the Large Hadron Collider" issued by the Division of Particles & Fields (DPF) of the American Physical Society (APS)
  6. ^ Adrian Cho, "Sotto Voce, LHC Repair Plan Points to Weaknesses in Original Design", Science, 12 December 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5908, pp. 1620 - 1621

Wwheaton (talk) 07:47, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

First Reference[edit]

Hi, do we really have to quote some blogger as ref.[1] to explain that the protons in the LHC travel at 99.99999% of the speed of light? Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 14:15, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


I believe an accomplishment section on the LHC article is justified. To my understanding, wasn't it successful in creating quark gluon plasma already, among other materials (unless I have this confused with another device)? Wikicali00 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:18, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

It hasn't started colliding particles yet, how could it have created QGP? You are confusing it with the RHIC. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:34, 25 December 2008 (UTC)


Perhaps it's just me (I'm not into videogames) but I think that the paragraph on Half Life is way too long. In an article on the LHC (even in the "popular culture" section) we should not spend three lines explaining what the "Black Mesa Research Facility" is, surely there is already a Wikipedia entry devoted to that. And to the author of a sentence such as The LHC's so-called ability to produce miniature black holes or cause other doomsday scenarios I would recommend at least a thorough reading of the Safety of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider article. How do the other editors feel about that? Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:47, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to get rid of it entirely. The gaming community is not that large (though overrepresented on Wikipedia) and I don't think anything confined to that community, as this is, is notable enough to mention in an article about the LHC. In the Half-Life article, sure. "What links here" is the right way to learn about references in the less notable → more notable direction. I'd like to get rid of the other items too for the same reason. Every one of them is mentioned in another article that links to LHC, or easily could be. -- BenRG (talk) 20:29, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I also would like to suppress this kind of material, though I confess I am somewhat prejudiced against video games, and worry that this is just my problem. And I hate to seem unfriendly to folks with other interests. Can we suggest the reader look at WhatLinksHere by a link in the main article? I would not have thought to try that in my naive experience with Wiki, but that seems good enough if an inexperienced reader could be helped to find it and use it. Wwheaton (talk) 22:56, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
and it's gone. To be honest I think most of it can be removed, passing liaisons between one subject and another doesn't mean they should be automatically listed in either article, only if the trivia or liaison is in itself notable or of encyclopedic value. Khukri 09:55, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Summer of '09[edit]

Hi, what is the Wikipedia policy on this matter? Can we keep writing that the LHC will restart in summer 2009 (as in the CERN press releases) or should we show more respect to people of different latitudes? ;-) Happy new year Ptrslv72 (talk) 19:39, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

The relevant policy is WP:SEASON, CERN may think of itself as a Northern hemisphere organisation, but Wikipedia tries to work globally. ϢereSpielChequers 02:20, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, if that is the policy I won't stand in the way. However, if you read a few threads above in the discussion page, you will see that Summer 2009 was a hard-reached (and deliberately vague) compromise, due to the uncertainty on when the LHC will actually restart. I am not sure that mid 2009 carries the same "Septemberish" connotation... And if I remember correctly the argument "it will be summer in Geneva" has already been used by at least another regular editor. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
How about "end of July" then, or perhaps "around end of July" or possibly "expected to be operational around the end of July"? (as supported by the reference mentioned before). That would make it more international.
Apis (talk) 16:41, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm happy with that. ϢereSpielChequers 16:43, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
just put maybe 2009 ;) Khukri 17:55, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
If we're looking for ambiguousness then "Q3'09" (or words to that effect) surely gives the same connotation globally as summer '09 does for CERN's point of reference? - -NotHugo- - (talk) 23:44, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Not to sound negative, but "not before July 2009", or something similar, might be more realistic. Wwheaton (talk) 01:52, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Automatic archiving needs fixing[edit]

 January 2009

I noticed that recent conversations are being automatically archived to archive 4, instead of archive 8. Not sure how to fix this. Cheers, Phenylalanine (talk) 11:28, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

I think Chamal has fixed it for us, and I've moved the relevant archives from 4 to 8. WereSpielChequers 12:36, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is there a picture from Fermilab?[edit]

There is a picture of fermilabs quatropole magnets. Wouldnt it be better with something from LHC? (talk) 17:38, 25 January 2009 (UTC).

That picture is from Pt5, and Fermilab provided the inner triplet quadrupoles, part of the infamous breakdown in 2007. Khukri 18:12, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

"In popular culture" again[edit]

The "in popular culture" section has once again grown to half a dozen paragraphs from a low of one, and I'd like to once again raise the question of what should be included and why.

We all know how these sections grow: a random reader comes along, notices there's a popular culture section, notices their favorite science-fiction novel/show/movie isn't mentioned, and helpfully adds it. There are three solutions: 1. delete the section, thus removing the temptation; 2. have a policy clear enough that we can revert these edits without seeming arbitrary; 3. don't do anything and let the section grow without bound, figuring that experienced WP readers are used to this and will just skip over it.

I'd like to delete the section. The only information in the whole section that strikes me as potentially useful to readers is the link to CERN's "Spotlight: " page, which has an informative (if low-level) Q&A. That could be moved to the external links section. The Large Hadron Rap isn't very useful but is a quasi-official CERN publication, and could go in external links also. The rest is essentially a list of fiction writers who know zilch about the LHC but have chosen to use it in their stories as a generic bugaboo or science thing. Maybe some of these stories are a good read/watch, but it's certainly not for reasons pertaining to the LHC. They might belong on a list of good fiction, but not here.

I don't like option 3, but I'll bow to superior numbers if enough other people favor it. I can't think of a good criterion for option 2. I don't think the current criterion (included in an HTML comment in the section itself) is good enough. -- BenRG (talk) 02:10, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Any attempt to define what is relevant and what is not in the "popular culture" section is going to be arbitrary and subjective. So far there is no useful information on the LHC in that section, if it disappears altogether I won't cry about it. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with BenRG. Let's limit this article to the technical facts, and if there is a really notable aura of cultural material, let someone make a notable article out it in its own right, as we did for the safety issue last year. I hate to be so ruthless, but it is a constant embarrassment as it stands, IMHO. Wwheaton (talk) 15:08, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Remove. Interesting and relevant stuff should be integrated into the body. Verbal chat
If we completely remove it it will keep coming back - not just with every SF reference we don't currently cover but all the ones now in there. But if we trim the section back to one paragraph with no specific fiction named and an editors warning that consensus is for fiction to link to the LHC but not vice versa, then we have a better article and there will be fewer attempts to add popular culture references to it. WereSpielChequers 15:34, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it's unnecessary to remove it. It's interesting to see how it's being portrayed in "popular culture". The sheer number of mentions goes to show that there is great general interest in the LHC (even if they get it totally wrong). And the fact that CERN themselves mention some of it (like the Angels and Demons FAQ) indicates it's notable. It may have no technical value, but it is interesting to see how much interest there is around the LHC from others than the scientific community, and how that interest is being expressed etc. This isn't supposed to be merely a technical article about the LCH, it should aspire to cover a more holistic view of the project.
I think WereSpielChequers suggestion is reasonable. Rewrite the section so that it doesn't take up any undue weight compared to the rest and add a little inline warning asking editors to seek consensus on the talk page before adding a reference to their favorite sf work (or whatever). :)
Apis (talk) 17:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Delete that section. 1)It is an eye sore and, 2) Fiction is beyond the scope of such thoughtfull scientific article. BatteryIncluded (talk) 05:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I would say delete it, or do something similar to what I and others did to tachyon. Aka have the header, but with a {{Main}} pointing to a LHC in fiction or LHC in popular culture article and send everything there but an overall discussiong of the LHC's use in fiction/popular culture. Sure it's a sort of "crap fork", but I find it very effective in these high-profile topics. Everyone wins. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 06:01, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

The liaison in itself needs to be notable, Angels and Demons is a notable liaison it has gained press on the accuracies and how CERN was portrayed etc. Because it might appear in a passage in a book, on a website or someone thinks that their computer game has similarities to what they believe CERN is like is not inherently notable. I've said before if the link in itself is notable then it's worth inclusion if it's two subject matters, like ships that pass in the night, share a small link that isn't notable then it's not worth inclusion. Khukri 09:50, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I tried to clean it up a bit and add a short summary/lead. I left the stuff with references, but I don't mind if anyone wants to remove more of it. As for the section in itself I don't quite see why it would be hard to revert any "non notable" addition with an edit summary like "not notable — see talk" or similar.
I also noticed that there's an essay about "In popular culture" sections / articles.
Apis (talk) 06:57, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Faulty loaned parts[edit]

I have been unable to Google up a source for the following statement:

There were also engineering difficulties encountered while building the underground cavern for the Compact Muon Solenoid, in part due to faulty parts loaned to CERN by fellow laboratories Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and KEK.

Rather, I find repetitions of the statement. The referenced article makes no mention of faulty loaned parts.

The statement after the comma seems unlikely. The CMS cavern did encounter difficulties during excavation, due to abundant groundwater in a permeable layer. I can't imagine why CERN would need to borrow any "parts" from other physics laboratories for the excavation, which is a straightforward construction task not involving high-energy physics.

I am marking the statement in question, and will delete everything after the comma unlesss someone can justify it. Cstaffa (talk) 02:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I think this comment is about the inner triplets from Fermilab, though not in the civil engineering sense of construction, was still in the construction phase of the LHC. When they found the underground river that was solved by a European company (Air Liquide I think) who froze the ground to allow excavation and installation of the caissons. Though you are right should be completely reworded as it is ambiguous at best. The repetitions are most probably just clones of this site. Khukri 07:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Your edit is better, but I doubt that the word loaned applies to the inner triplet magnets, and the alleged involvement of Argonne and KEK is still not supported. Cstaffa (talk) 18:40, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

SI units[edit]

an anonymous editor has added the conversion in Joules to all the energies expressed in electron-volts. I find that this modification makes the text a lot heavier without much benefit (SI units for energies are not practical in particle physics and indeed they are hardly ever used in the scientific literature). I propose to link the definition of electron-volt in the lead and get rid of all the conversions. Of course this is open to debate. Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:57, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Whoops electron-volt was already linked, thus I just reverted the last change. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:59, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Energy used to keep the protons on the circular trajectory[edit]

Among the information presented on the article, I would like to see how much energy and what centripetal force is required to keep the proton beams (and for a proton too) on the circular trajectory when their speed is 7Tev. If anyone could make the calculations and put them on the article, that would be appreciated. --LF1975 (talk) 12:22, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I've done myself a calculation and for a proton and I get 2,84192E-08J, while the total centripetal energy is 18354 J. Is it correct?--LF1975 (talk) 12:39, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it requires energy to keep the protons on their circular path. An object sliding on a frictionless track does not require energy to keep it on the track, any more than a planet requires energy to stay in orbit. The magnets have huge stored energy, but the protons do not dissipate that. There is a little energy loss due to synchrotron radiation; is that what you are trying to get at? Should the energy you are referring to be power, energy dissipated per unit time? Or is it some kind of stored energy? Sorry I don't get it, you may be correct. Maybe you could say more about your calculation, or just describe the concepts that went into it. Wwheaton (talk) 07:32, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, I just exchanged the last two edits. The tradition on talk pages is to put new sections last, at the end, and then carry on the discussion chronologically within the section (or sometimes out-of-time order, if someone wants to speak to a previous remark, by indenting under it). It ain't perfect, but it helps to keep things from getting too tangled. Wwheaton (talk) 07:40, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
My idea started from the fact that at that speed the protons have 7500 times their mass at rest. Due to inertia they tend to go in a straight line (like a planet without its sun:). Oh wait, in fact a planed goes in a "straight" line around its sun, but since the space is curved, it appears as going around, but I guess that's not the case with LHC), therefore the magnets must provide the centripetal force proportional with their mass to keep them in the circular trajectory. I was wondering if this will lead to a deviation of the proton beams towards the exterior, from the centre of the magnetic field. Well, I used a formula found on internet U = 7500 x m x omega2 x R2 for the energy. If there is a small difference between the trajectory of the colliding beams,(few °A) the protons might miss each other, or? I suppose The LHC is a very very precise instrument so the protons will be aligned extremely tight by the magnetic field. BTW, has this been done before (colliding two particle beams) in similar conditions?--LF1975 (talk) 13:16, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
The magnets do indeed provide the force, the Lorentz force that a magnetic field exerts on a charged particle moving across it. The force is in a direction perpendicular both to the magnetic field (B) vector and to the velocity v of the particle. The accelerator is designed so that B & v are essentially perpendicular, so the particle is accelerated by the force towards the center of the orbit, say to the left. Thus it moves, roughly, in a circle. The magnets that do this basically just have a uniform vertical B field that pushes the particles to the side; they are called "bending magnets", because they bend the beam from a straight line into a curve. There are about 2800 of them I think, with an 8 T (80,000 gauss) field, around 10 m long each, and weighing many tons.
A further consideration is that if the proton gets a little bit "off the track", either horizontally or vertically, the B field needs to change there (off the track), in such a way that it is nudged back on course. It turns out that this can be done in one direction, either horizontal (H) or vertical (V), but not in both at once. To solve this problem there are additional "focusing magnets", called "quadrupoles", that have a very non-uniform field. They are arranged in pairs: for one, the B field gets stronger if the proton is off-track to the right, and bends it back towards the desired beam center line, to the left. And B gets weaker on the left, so if the proton is off that way (too close to the center of the big 9 km dia circle) it is not curved so sharply, and moves back towards the beamline's center on the right. This is called "horizontal focusing". Unfortunately the laws governing the B field decree that such a magnet must tend to defocus the beam vertically. So the second magnet of the pair is similar to the first, but rotated around the beam axis by 90° so that it focuses vertically while (necessarily) defocusing horizontally. It turns out that the two quadrupoles together can be made to focus in both directions, H and V. The combination is sometimes called a "lens" in the jargon of beam optics, because it acts rather like a simple convex lens in optics. This is a very much over-simplified description of a complex problem; the complex solution, barely outlined above, is called "strong focusing", and it works.
I think, for the LHC, the beamline is around the diameter of a human hair (though the beam vacuum pipe is much bigger, to provide clearance). At the points where the two beams are made to cross and collide, the focus is tighter still, about ~16μm dia I believe it is. Even so the protons are usually fairly far apart along the beam direction. But passing about 16μm apart (ten billion times the size of a proton) they mostly do miss each other. Going around and making many thousand passes through the collision regions each second, it could take many hours before a particular proton gets hit. Then in a day or so the beam must be replenished.
Notice that according to the Lorentz force law, the B field exerts no force parallel to v. Therefor there is no friction, and the protons just slide on their way. (They actually do need a little nudge now and then to make up for the synchrotron radiation I referred to above, that charged particles emit when accelerated.) The formula you found for the particle energy is only accurate for particles moving much slower than light. The protons at the LHC are moving almost exactly at the speed of light; see the Wiki article on Special relativity for the corrected formula that works for all v, fast or slow. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 02:01, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi Gang, I just came to my senses and noticed I have gone way overboard here in my tutorial to LF1975 about accelerator physics. Please forgive me. I have posted a suggestion on LF1975's talk page that we continue any further discussions along this line there. Maybe somebody will find it interesting (or correct any errors). It should not be trusted for ecyclopedic accuracy, of course. Cheers, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 14:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

LHC Lawsuit[edit]

Should this page include a section about the lawsuit brought against CERN and its operation of the LHC by Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho? The suits were thrown out and did not go very far, but are interesting in terms of how LHC is perceived by many people. Clearly, the suits resulted from an inability to understand the science behind the LHC on the part of the plaintiffs. But, I think this page should cover what happened with those suits and any notable commentary by scientists or public figures on the events. Dpetley (talk) 16:03, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

I think the section Large_Hadron_Collider#Safety_of_particle_collisions is sufficient here. Please add any futher information to Safety_of_particle_collisions_at_the_Large_Hadron_Collider#Legal_challenges. Cstaffa (talk) 18:31, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

hackers broke in?[edit]

At first read, this sentence "There was no access [by whom?] to the control network of the collider.[42][43]" describes a denial of service attack. An improvement might be "The control network... was not affected" or "Hackers had no access to...". Walkingstick3 (talk) 04:59, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

What next?![edit]

Congratulations, all! So what do we need to do to get this up to A-class now? Seems like a worthy goal, given the importance of the project, and I hope within reach. I don't have a lot of time to devote to it, but I will at least cheer the real heroes on, and contribute as I am able. Best, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 17:17, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

"In popular culture" AGAIN!!![edit]

I see that two old favourites of the "popular culture" section, Flashforward and Torchwood, have popped out again despite the zilion discussions in the talk page about the issue. Unless somebody brings up new arguments in their defense I am going to revert the changes as "not notable". However, we should take a chance to reconsider the option of dispensing with the "popular culture" section altogether. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:37, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

I think we should, at the very least, wait a little until after that movie has finished airing, I promise that otherwise the section will magically reappear anyway.
Apis (talk) 01:33, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

You're 100% right. Thanks for taking care of the modifications and Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:55, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

I just noticed that the Torchwood radio play had been removed. I'm not sure whether Ptrslv72's comment above is in favor of its removal or not ("popped out again" is a bit unclear), but some of the prior discussion had indicated that the Torchwood episode was worth noting, since it had some involvement by actual CERN personnel and coverage in major British media. The Flashforward connection appears more tangential, but the Torchwood radio play was actually commissioned as part of the BBC's coverage of the LHC switch-on, so it has more direct relevance to the project.

Here's the three-sentence bit about the Torchwood play that was in the article until recently:

BBC Radio 4 commemorated the switch-on of the LHC on 10 September 2008 with "Big Bang Day".[1] Included in this event was a radio episode of the TV series Torchwood, with a plot involving the LHC, entitled Lost Souls.[2] CERN's director of communications, James Gillies, commented, "The CERN of reality bears little resemblance to that of Joseph Lidster's Torchwood script."[3]

  1. ^ "BBC - Radio 4 - Big Bang Day". BBC. 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  2. ^ "Programming for Big Bang Day on BBC Radio 4". BBC Press Office. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
    "Radio 4 - Big Bang Day". BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
    Donovan, Paul (2008-09-07). "The BBC has Big Bang to rights". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  3. ^ Gillies, James. "CERN in Science-Fiction". BBC Radio 4 website. BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 

I'm open to any rewording that condenses this further, but I do still feel that it's worth a brief mention in the article. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:46, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Do as you wish, in my opinion it's the whole section that should go and the article should stick to the science, but I agree that there is no compelling criterion to retain "Angels and Demons" and discard "Torchwood" (that is indeed the intrinsic problem of the "popular culture" section). However, I have two comments
1) "popped out" was indeed confusing - to put it mercifully - and I can only say in my defense that English is not my native language. However, what I meant should have been obvious from the rest of my comment (what part of "not notable" was unclear to you?)
2) the "prior discussion" you are referring to is mostly something that you wrote on the talk page. It does not seem to me that a consensus on Torchwood had been reached back then, and there was a lot of further discussion afterwards.
Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:00, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. Re-reading the discussion from January (which I missed at the time), it does seem that the regular editors of this page aren't very keen on the section's existence. Of the options discussed then, I think that creating a spin-out article for Large Hadron Collider in popular culture is the best; that way, sourced and notable content isn't lost, but the focus of the main article can remain on the science, as seems to be the wish of the regular editors here. The section in this article could be reduced to the first paragraph, with a {{Main}} or {{Details}} link to the new article; that way, the main article doesn't ignore the cultural impact of the LHC, but also doesn't get bogged down in details. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 18:24, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
This is indeed a constructive approach, I support it but I won't be the one who maintains the new article... ;-) Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:03, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I just noticed that Large Hadron Collider in popular culture used to be its own article, but its content was moved to Large Hadron Collider by Phenylalanine (talk · contribs). Phenylalanine hasn't been around for a few weeks, but I've dropped him a line to give him an opportunity to join the discussion before I reverse his action. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:33, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
When was this? I have been following the LHC article since September 2008 and if I am not mistaken during those nine months "In popular culture" has always been a subsection of the main article. Ptrslv72 (talk) 21:49, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
It was only for about a week in July 2008. See here. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 22:30, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
A popular culture section could be great, although it shouldn't be a trivia list. Personally I think the section shouldn't be about individual works at all, but rather give an understanding about how LHC has had an impact on works of fiction and how it's being portrayed and so on.

I'm guessing Angels & Deamons are more famous outside Britain than torchwood though, but what do I know.

I'm not sure I like the separate page idea, I suspect it might become a "crap fork". But it might be worth a try...
Apis (talk) 20:40, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I am afraid that it would be difficult to avoid individual works and give a general understanding of the impact of the LHC on fiction without falling in the original research trap. Ptrslv72 (talk) 21:49, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes that would likely be difficult.
Apis (talk) 20:48, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I've stayed out of these types of arguments about the content of the section, as it often ends up being an argument about who's fancruft is more important etc. But what I would like to repeat is my thoughts on the criteria for these types of links as I have previously stated when this subject comes up. I believe the link itself needs to be inherently notable, just because two different articles have a common subject matter does not make it worthy of inclusion, or worth discussion. Ludicrous example: adding to the St Peter article that Jon the third actor on the left in X film has a dog called Peter is not notable. These are two different subjects that have a common theme, but no direct interaction and isn't noteworthy. However Guy Gibson having a dog called 'Nigger' is worthy of inclusion in any number of articles as a commentary on the social ideals and what was acceptable at the time. Now I know this is rambling, but this can be applied to this section, does X film/game/book just use the LHC as a MacGuffin, or is there actually some notability in it's usage or were there some consequences of it's usage? Now Torchwood, Flash Forward and the computer game that sometimes gets added fall (in my humble opinion) into the MacGuffin category. Angels & Demons however, in the same vein as The Da Vinci Code, made certain statements that have been taken on by the general public as plausible or as facts, and that CERN has had to issue information and a FAQ of sorts to correct some of these misconceptions is borderline becoming notable. These are just my thoughts though if they are included it should be kept in the context of the article and not a focal point, and kept in perspective. Cheers Khukri 08:36, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Hi, an anonymous editor pointed out that some of the links in the "External Links" section do not comply with Wikipedia's policy. I'd certainly agree to remove a few of them, e.g. the duplicate links from the CERN webpages, some (or all) of the news articles, the video of Brian Cox. But I wonder where we should draw the line. Does anybody (starting from the person who made the change) have suggestions? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:53, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi, in the absence of any reaction from teh other editors I took the matter in my hands. I removed several short news articles and links from the CERN pages. I reorganized the surviving links into: 1) official CERN pages 2) "long" articles in the news 3) miscellaneous pictures and videos. Surely it can be trimmed further, and suggestions are welcome. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 08:32, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

My silence was approval btw ;) thanks. Khukri 10:03, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi, a small edit war seems to be going on about whether or not to include in "External Links" a website with pictures of the LHC. May I suggest that the editors involved lay down their arguments in this discussion page? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:38, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Winter shutdown[edit]

I thought I read somewhere that the LHC can only run during the summer due to its power consumption requirements. If so that would delay effective startup until middle of 2010? Michael C. Price talk 22:11, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

No. The current plan is that, to make up for the delay, this year they will run through the winter (paying extra for the electricity). Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:11, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Using money from electrical costs saved by non-operation since September 2008, I believe. Wwheaton (talk) 20:03, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW, even the originally planned April-to-November schedule would be a bit wider than "the summer". I'll remove the paragraph added by Michael C Price while waiting for a better formulation (assuming that we need it). Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:29, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
any money saved, went into the repairs and the dump valve modifications. There is talk of a very brief shutdown over winter maybe as little as two weeks, but now start up has been knocked back another couple of weeks to mid november, we'll see. I'll have a look see if I can get lastest plans. Khukri 09:33, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Running over the coming winter does not obviate the point that over-winter operations are not expected in general. --Michael C. Price talk 09:51, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
This isn't entirely correct, at the moment the planning model was going to be the same as PS, SPS & LEP due to the electricity and cost of staff etc over this running period. But over the last 9 years I've heard more than one discussion on when a shutdown for maintenance would be carried out, including arguments of a summer shutdown might be better, due to the extra cooling the LHC requires. As it's a new machine with new growing pains, I wouldn't be hasty in slotting it into any operating bracket or even stating that there were/is defined shutdown periods, I'm trying to plan stuff for next year, and there is nothing in writing from the upper management here on it, just initial start up and after that we'll suck it and see. Cheers Khukri 10:36, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate that planning is in a state of perpetual flux, but I am just trying to report what has been reported in the media about the issue. --Michael C. Price talk 10:46, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
erm, shouldn't we be adding what is known, not what the media thinks is known, if that were the case the LHC should have already destroyed the planet reading most of the media. The best place for information like that would be direct from CERN, as I said previously afaik there is no strategy in place. The statement in the article already has some poetic licence compared to the BBC report, the article states that the only reason for a winter shutdown is due to the electricity costs, but the BBC correctly reports that it was partly due. That BBC article is almost a year old and alot has changed since then, including when the machine will run etc. A big factor in 2008 was energy costs were over double what they are now, with winter being more even more expensive would have eaten a large chunk out of CERN's operational budget, but the fact energy costs have plummeted is one reason for a change in philosophy. Also Fermilab's press release earlier on this year that they have an 50-80% chance of finding Higgs will be a big reason for an at all cost push. I would just suggest changing it so that the electricity cost isn't the only reason for a change in strategy, but that LHC was foreseen to run in the same way as LEP but ........ anyways, I hope you get my drift. Cheers Khukri 12:18, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
erm, shouldn't we be adding what is known, not what the media thinks is known No, it often comes as a surprise to folks, but actually the wikiguidelines (see WP:NOR) are quite clear that we should only be reporting what has been reported elsewhere. Unless you find a statement published in a reliable source that says otherwise then it has to stay. I don't make the rules, just follow them. Although I confess to agreeing to them as well.... I agree there are plenty of reasons why this winter shutdown policy might be ignored in the near or medium term, but has this been published anywhere? If it has then the ideal solution is to say it was once the intention that.... but events have overtaken us.....--Michael C. Price talk 18:00, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Khukri is an experienced editor, I am sure that he knows very well the guidelines and he is not surprised by your remark. He's just saying that for information concerning the LHC we should give preference to the official CERN sources (e.g. the press releases) over the articles in the news, which are very inaccurate more often than not. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:08, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
CERN websites would be the most reliable sources, I agree. --Michael C. Price talk 04:55, 25 July 2009 (UTC)--Michael C. Price talk 04:55, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
An example comes to my mind. As I mentioned in the thread below, last year there was an editor who had read in some British tabloid (I don't remember which one, it might have been The Sun) that the LHC would study the possibility of time travel. This was of course utter bollocks, but for a while the guy kept insisting that - since it was in the news - he had the right to add time travel to the list of physics goals of the LHC. The moral of the story is, the media can be more or less reliable, especially on scientific matters, and adding a citation to some news article does not automatically guarantee that what you write is correct... Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:50, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Of course most of the media coverage is bollocks, but well publicised bollocks needs addressing so that it can be refuted. --Michael C. Price talk 12:28, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Source provided so statement reinserted. Also, Ptrslv72 seems to have misunderstood the rationale behind another change, so I reverted that as well; the LHC is not concerned with whether the extra dimensons exist AND whether they can be detected, but ONLY with whether they can be detected.--Michael C. Price talk 10:11, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I see here the beginnings of an edit war, so we should cool down and wait for the intervention of other editors. However:
unless you live at the poles, summer is a roughly three-month period between spring and fall. The fact that the LHC was planned to be shut down in the winter does not mean that it would work only in summer. Is that so difficult? The fact that you dug up some old BBC article using the word summer is not relevant, BBC had a proven record of getting the LHC facts wrong. Try to find some public CERN page with that statement - believe me, you won't. (incidentally, if you write anything like summer you will be assailed by geographically-correct fanatics complaining that in their part of the world that is actually winter... ;-)
Concerning the extra dimensions statement, read the whole section: it is a list of key questions that the LHC will help physicists to answer. In the case of extra dimensions, the key question is indeed whether they exist, and the LHC might answer that question by finding them. It might however be the case that extra dimensions exist but are too small to be accessible at the energy scale of the LHC. This is the meaning of the second question in the sentence (are they detectable?). I presume that with your change you want to stress that the LHC cannot disprove the existence of extra dimensions that are only accessible at higher energy scales. This is true, but it is beside the point in the key questions list. Otherwise, the same argument could be applied to other items in the list (e.g. supersymmetry as well might be realized only at an energy scale higher than that reachable at the LHC). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ptrslv72 (talkcontribs) 12:49, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Besides, the language of your current formulation Can we detect the extra dimensions,[12] as predicted by various models inspired by string theory? is somewhat misleading. It sounds like "various models inspired by string theory" predict that "we can detect the [the?] extra dimensions". As I wrote above, string theory predicts the existence of extra dimensions, but whether we can detect them or not is a different matter (it depends on whether they are large enough). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:04, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I see the point you're making, my wording was not good, but I'm still unhappy for the reasons you mention. To take your supersymmetry example, yes the same point can be made there as well. The LHC cannot address the issue of whether SUSY does not exist; what it does is place a lower bound on the masses of the SUSY partners (if they exist). Hmmm perhaps that is what we should say. --Michael C. Price talk 18:11, 24 July 2009 (UTC)--Michael C. Price talk 18:11, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I edited substantially that section nearly a year ago (it was a mess of inaccuracies, including time travel) so it might be that I am a bit protective about it. Anyway, my point is that we are giving a list of open questions in particle physics that the LHC might help answering, as opposed to an exact list of the experimental results that are hoped for. Several items of the list - not just SUSY and XD - are somewhat general. That's why I like my formulation (are there extra dimensions as predicted by string theory and can we detect them?) better, but we might look for a compromise. Concerning the shutdown, I have no objections against mentioning the electricity cost issue in the "Cost" session. It should just be reworded in such a way that it avoids giving the impression that the LHC will run only a few months per year (unless you give the word summer a very different meaning from the one that it has in Geneva...) Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 00:03, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, summer changed to winter. Re the outstanding questions, perhaps we can revert back to your wording but modify the opening sentence? I'll try something. --Michael C. Price talk 05:04, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
How about adding a rider as follows:
The failure of the LHC to find evidence of some of above would not exclude them them out as possiblities; they may be manifest at energies above the LHC's reach. E.g. the failure of the LHC to detect a Higgs or SUSY partners may only mean that they are too heavy to detected at present.
--Michael C. Price talk 12:38, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, many items in the list are not formulated as "things that the LHC should find evidence of" but - again - as "issues that the LHC might help solving", so this comment would be a bit awkward. Concerning your specific example, it may be ok for the superpartners, but a Higgs boson so heavy as to be beyond the kinematical reach of the LHC would be inconsistent with the precise experimental confirmation of other SM predictions (which require a light Higgs), and would have a number of other theoretical problems. Nobody expects the Higgs to be too heavy to be detected at the LHC, and actually a heavish Higgs (heavy enough to decay into gauge bosons) is easier to see than a light one. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:53, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Is SUSY uncontroversial?[edit]


I notice that it says that only the Higgs is uncontroversial, but I thought that SUSY was pretty much accepted as well (with some tentative positive indications already in, such as the convergence of coupling constants at high energies). --Michael C. Price talk 05:18, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Michael, I like the present formulation (referred to the topic of the previous thread - Ptrslv72). Concerning your question, the Higgs boson is the last undiscovered particle of the Standard Model (SM). However, nearly all of the SM predictions - formulated assuming the existence of a Higgs boson with mass below the TeV scale - have been confirmed experimentally to an amazing accuracy, therefore it can be said that the existence of a relatively light Higgs boson is rather uncontroversial (even though Higgsless models exist). However, the SM suffers from the so-called hierarchy problem: quantum corrections to the Higgs mass push it up to the largest mass scale existing in the theory. If the SM is indeed the theory that describes particle physics up to the scale where gravity becomes relevant (i.e. the Planck scale, 10^18 GeV), then the natural mass of the Higgs (and of all the other particles, since they get their mass from the Higgs) would be the Planck scale itself. Therefore, it is widely assumed that the SM must be extended with new physics (i.e. additional particles and interactions) at an energy scale between 100 GeV and a few TeV (incidentally, this is the bet that the LHC was built upon). TeV-scale supersymmetry is a good candidate for this extension: the quantum corrections to the Higgs mass induced by the superparticles cancel the corrections induced by the SM particles, thus solving the hierarchy problem. In addition, there is a number of attractive features of SUSY such as gauge coupling unification, and the fact that the lightest superparticle is quite naturally a candidate for dark matter. However, SUSY is by no means the only TeV-scale extension of the SM that is currently being studied. Alternative solutions to the hierarchy problem such as composite Higgs models or large extra dimensions have also received a lot of attention (especially after theorists computed nearly everything there was to compute in SUSY models and got bored with them ;-) Therefore, I think that a lot of people would complain if told that TeV-scale SUSY is uncontroversial (on the other hand, string theory requires supersymmetry, therefore if string theory is correct nature must be supersymmetric at least at the Planck scale). Hopefully, the LHC will tell us which of the possible extensions of the SM (if any) is the correct one. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:39, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Even without string theory there are good reasons for believing in SUSY. Being the only possible extension of the Poincare algebra makes it likely, but there is also the fact I mentioned earlier, that SUSY corrections the coupling constants show a better high-energy convergence with SUSY than without. Of course that doesn't prove anything but I think many people will upset upset by a lack of SUSY validation -- perhaps almost as many as would be upset at a lack of a Higgs from the LHC. --Michael C. Price talk 12:28, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
We are getting a bit off-topic here, but let me add just one more comment: as mentioned in the quote from Hawking, if the LHC could convincingly exclude the existence of a Higgs boson below a TeV it would be quite exciting news, because it would mean that the SM itself is not a good description of physics at the electroweak scale (see also my comment in the thread above) and has to be rethought. The worst-case scenario for the future of particle physics (short, of course, of the LHC not working at all ;-) would probably be if the LHC finds a SM-like Higgs boson and no hints of new physics. In that case it is quite unlikely that we would ever get funds for a bigger collider to chase the new physics at higher energies... Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:27, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
There was a mention in a recent Scientific American (which may the same physics that Hawking's alluding to) that the LHC will either find the Higgs xor some other particles. A completely null-result is not possible, although your worst case scenario is possible. Although this allows for the an undetectable super-heavy Higgs, and seems at variance with your nobody expects.. statement. I'll see if I can find the statement if you're not familar with it.--Michael C. Price talk 15:42, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
The main reason why people expect the Higgs boson to be light is consistency with the electroweak precision observables, see the second plot in this page. The other (theoretical) reasons why the Higgs should not be heavier than a TeV (and therefore within the LHC reach) are rather technical, and this talk page is not the right place to try to summarize them. If you have some physics background, you can check e.g. section 1.4 (pages 59-72) of this review. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:19, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

After MichaelCPrice's change[edit]

I reverted a change from Michael C. Price claiming that SUSY is uncontroversial (namely, as uncontroversial as the existence of a Higgs boson). Weak-scale supersymmetry is indeed a very popular solution of the hierarchy problem (see above) and there are a few indirect hints (not evidence) that it might be the correct one (as it features unification of gauge couplings, a dark matter candidate, radiative breaking of the electroweak symmetry). However, it is by no means the only solution to the hierarchy problem that is studied in theoretical particle physics. Many of the models with large extra dimensions that are currently studied do not involve supersymmetry. There are also lots of models in which the Higgs bosons itself is not a fundamental scalar but rather a composite state that arises as the pseudo-Goldstone boson of a spontaneously broken global symmetry (see here and here). These models do not involve supersymmetry either. In summary, while SUSY is probably the most popular extension of the SM, it is certainly not the only one, and claiming that it is uncontroversial is a gross exaggeration. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:34, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

(comment displaced for clarity by Ptrslv72) The question is not whether there are non-SUSY extensions of the SM, but whether there are non-SUSY extensions that replicate the high energy convergence of the coupling constants that SUSY does, as spelt out in Sci Am June 2003? Find me a source or else revert the article back.--Michael C. Price talk 08:55, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Why are you so hung up on gauge coupling unification? It is indeed an attractive feature of SUSY but it is not enough to make it uncontroversial. Gauge coupling unification is relevant in scenarios in which there is a "desert" between the weak scale and some large energy scale (GUT scale) where new physics sets in. In this situation it is true that the gauge couplings unify better in the MSSM than in the SM. However, in most of the alternatives that I mentioned above a completely new physics (e.g. quantum gravity, in the case of large extra dimensions) with a possibly more complicated gauge structure sets in at a relatively low energy scale (say, tens or hundreds of TeV). In this case the question whether the gauge couplings of the SM actually unify at the GUT scale loses its meaning. Besides, low-energy SUSY has also a lot problems that you don't mention and that make it controversial to the eyes of many people. For example, supersymmetry must be broken - otherwise you would have a scalar electron with the same mass of the electron - and this introduces more than a hundred new free parameters in the theory. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:34, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, we can argue over the difference between "indirect evidence" and "indirect hints", but the fact remains that many of the press reports about the LHC discovering the Higgs also mention SUSY (as does the Hawking interview cited). Note also that Hawking use the word "confirmation" about detecting superpartners, which suggests it is not controversial. Again find me a source that says "physicists would be amazed if the LHC detected superpartners", because there are plenty that state that they expect to detect them.[5] "Supersymmetry has the easiest time fitting in with what we know"Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has a great chance to finally reveal supersymmetry which remains a compelling theory for over 30 years
I showed you a lot of research papers (real ones, not Scientific American) proving that there is a huge amount of theoretical work devoted to non-SUSY extensions of the SM. If SUSY was uncontroversial, why would all of those smart people waste their time? The truth is, we don't know what kind of new physics (if any) lies right behind the corner, SUSY is a popular candidate but it would be foolish to bet all the money on just one horse. If you are still not convinced, check the programme of some recent conferences on high-energy physics, e.g. this or this. In the sessions on new physics you will find a lot of SUSY talks, but also a substantial fraction of talks on alternatives to supersymmetry. Physicists would not be amazed if the LHC detected superpartners, but they would not be amazed either if it detected some other kind of new physics. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:20, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Most, if not all, of those studies are irrelevant as to how mainstream is SUSY, since I doubt that most (any?) of those extensions are incompatible with SUSY. --Michael C. Price talk 11:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
PS just because SUSY needs to be broken by the introduction of parameters is not a problem with SUSY, but with minimal SUSY. Presumably those parameters will be explained away by some TOE eventually. --Michael C. Price talk 09:55, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
By definition, everything will be explained away in a TOE ;-) The point is how much additional complication you are willing to tolerate in a model that describes the physics at the energy scale accessible today. A big chunk of the theoretical work on SUSY nowadays consists precisely in looking for solutions (more or less satisfying) to the many problems generated by the excess of free parameters. Chees Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:20, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW, in case I gave you a different impression, I am a fan of supersymmetry. I am simply saying that it is incorrect to claim that weak-scale supersymmetry is taken for granted by the particle physics community. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I never said weak-scale supersymmetry is taken for granted -- otherwise we would hardly build the LHC to look, would we? I am saying that SUSY (of some form) is mainstream.
But this is really an open-and-shut-case. No SUSY => no strings/M theory, which would upset a lot of people, whereas the the presence of SUSY (perhaps at a much higher scale) would upset almost no one. Taken as a class SUSY is mainstream, and I can gives sources for that; focussing on a particular SUSY realisations, and asking why people work on other stuff is besides the point.--Michael C. Price talk 11:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
We all agree that SUSY is mainstream. What we are discussing here is whether to modify the sentence Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty to mention superparticles. I am trying here to argue that the discovery of the Higgs particle at the LHC is far less controversial than the discovery of superparticles. We already see that the electroweak symmetry is broken at the ~100 GeV scale so we know that there must be some mechanism responsible for that at the same energy scale (and even there, an elementary Higgs field is not the only possibility). On the other hand, all the hints towards the existence of new physics around the TeV scale are, indeed, just hints, mostly based on theoretical considerations (e.g. the hierarchy problem). And even if there is new physics around the TeV scale, there are several alternatives to low-energy SUSY that might solve the problems of the SM. I listed a few of them and showed you that they are widely studied and discussed by the people who actually do particle physics as a job, but you don't seem to care, just because you have read an article on Scientific American that talks about SUSY. Supersymmetry might very well be realized only at a much higher scale (I wrote this many comments ago, if you care to check) but this is irrelevant to our own discussion. High-scale SUSY would not count among the possible discoveries the LHC might make and, incidentally, it would not solve the hierarchy problem of the SM. Please remember that this is not a forum on supersymmetry but a page to discuss changes to the LHC article, and the change that you propose is not correct. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:19, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Comments such as "but you don't seem to care, just because you have read an article on Scientific American" are rather uncivil (as well as being incorrect). I gave you my reasons why I don't consider those studies relevant, please address them and refrain from the ad hominems. Also please address my comment about Hawking's comment; he sees detection of the superpartners as "confirmation", which rather implies an expectation not associated with a controversial putative development.--Michael C. Price talk 13:19, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
According to what you write, the reason why you don't consider those studies relevant is that you doubt that they are uncompatible with SUSY so they are irrelevant to how mainstream SUSY is. If you bother to check the references I gave you you will see that most of those models have been developed as solutions to the hierarchy problem of the SM alternative to low-energy SUSY. They may or may not be incompatible with SUSY, but certainly they do not predict (nor need) the existence of superparticles within the reach of the LHC. Moreover, we are not discussing whether SUSY is mainstream (it is, as you can see also from the conferences that I linked). What we are discussing here (again, and again, and again) is whether the LHC article should lump the discovery of superpartners together with the discovery of the Higgs among the experimental results that we uncontroversially expect from the LHC. Concerning the Hawking quote, it reads:
He believes another important discovery that the experiment could make is superpartners, or particles that should theoretically exist. They are "supersymmetric partners" to those particles we already know of at present. "Their existence would be a key confirmation of string theory, and they could make up the mysterious dark matter that holds galaxies together. Whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the Universe," he says.
So what, Hawking believes - just like a large fraction of particle physicists - that the LHC could discover superpartners, and that this discovery would be a confirmation of string theory. I don't see how this is relevant to our discussion.

Listen, I tried to discuss the physics with you, then I tried to show you what is actually going on in the physics community (if you want one more link, check this: the new-physics week is half on SUSY and half on composite models), frankly I don't know what else I can try. At this point it is clear that we have a deadlock and that further modifications to the article should wait for consensus from the other regular editors. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 14:01, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

You know as well as I do that those studies are compatible with SUSY. The issue is if we detect sparticles, would that be controversial? I say no, since we expect SUSY to be true, the question is just one of whether it will manifest itself at a low enough energy scale.
To keep it simple: the issue is not
whether the LHC article should lump the discovery of superpartners together with the discovery of the Higgs among the experimental results that we uncontroversially expect from the LHC
We expect the Higgs, we do not necessarily expect the sparticles, but nor will we be fazed by them; that does not make either of them controversial. OK? You are equating unexpected with controversial. If we didn't expect SUSY to be true (i.e. it was non-mainstream) then the detection of sparticles would be controversial. But that ain't the case. --Michael C. Price talk 16:22, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
At least, read the sentence that you want to modify:
Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty.
Uncontroversial refers to the discovery of the Higgs particle, not to the Higgs particle itself. The sentence means: only the fact that we will discover the Higgs is relatively uncontroversial (otherwise, but even this is not considered a certainty would not make sense). You could not write that the fact that we will discover SUSY is relatively uncontroversial, because it would not be true. If your problem suddenly boils down to the meaning of uncontroversial, you can simply propose another adjective. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:17, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The problem has always been the meaning of "uncontroversial". Since, despite the thread title, we are now agreed that SUSY is not controversial, can we agree that whilst the Higgs is expected to be discovered (with some reservations) the sparticles are considered slightly less likely to be discovered, but that neither discovery would be controversial? I would change "relativity uncontroversial" to "expected" myself, but it seems changes are less likely to be reverted if you make them. --Michael C. Price talk 18:16, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
No, this is the talk page of the LHC article and the problem has always been the modification that you made on the text (read even that, in case you have forgotten it) and that I reverted. Your text sounded like the discovery of superpartners at the LHC is as uncontroversial as the discovery of the Higgs. As with the winter/summer issue, I thought that we were discussing physics but we were actually discussing the mastering of English language. Now, please read the text that you are proposing:
Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is expected, but even this is not considered a certainty.
It seems really really pessimistic and unsatisfactory to me, it sounds like we do not expect to find anything except the Higgs. Rather than making this change, I'd stick to the present formulation. Relatively uncontroversial as applied to the discovery of the Higgs sounds quite correct, and relatively is there to remind us that there are also models of electroweak symmetry breaking without an elementary Higgs field. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 18:46, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Once again you are confusing controversy with expectation. Yes, I think existence of the Higgs and SUSY are equally uncontroversial (approximately), and the same applies to their discoveries, if they occur, at the LHC. --Michael C. Price talk 19:08, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't get it: do you stand by your sentence Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is expected, but even this is not considered a certainty? Or you don't?
One way or another, please don't make changes to the LHC article before we get some feedback from other regular editors. I wrote a lot of words and wasted a lot of time before turning uncivil, but at this point - as long as you don't deface the LHC article - I care only up to a point about the verbal acrobatics that you can engage in to soothe your own ego. Our discussion is up there for anybody to judge. My personal summary would be 1) we have been talking of TeV-scale SUSY, as whether or not SUSY is realized at the Planck scale is irrelevant to both the hierarchy problem of the SM and the discovery reach of the LHC (btw, even your beloved gauge coupling unification matters only for TeV-scale SUSY). 2) TeV-scale SUSY can very well be at the same time mainstream - because there is a large fraction of the mainstream physics community that works on it - and controversial - because there is a respectable chunk of the same physics community that does not believe in it and studies alternative solutions to the hierarchy problem. I think I have given enough sources for that, however 3) this is not even the point of the discussion, the point is that the sentence of yours that I reverted, Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, the confirmation of supersymmetry, with the detection of superpartners, and the Higgs particle are relatively uncontroversial, but even these are not considered a certainties is incorrect, as it suggests that there is as little controversy on the fact that the LHC will detect superpartners as there is on the fact that it will detect the Higgs. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 21:17, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW, this is again not the point of the discussion, but my dictionary gives: controversial (adjective) giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement, which certainly applies to all of the proposed TeV-scale extensions of the SM, including SUSY. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 22:08, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

You know the rules, find me a reliable, verifiable source for the word "only", as tagged, or else it gets the boot. And no original research. Ta. --Michael C. Price talk 00:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I gave you many reliable sources (again: real ones, not Scientific American) showing that in the physics community there is public disagreement on whether the LHC will discover superparticles, because a substantial fraction of physicists support alternatives to TeV-scale SUSY. This does not detract from the merits of SUSY, most theories in physics are subject to controversy until they are experimentally verified. Indeed, experiments at both the LHC and the Tevatron have well-established programs for non-SUSY searches (check this, it's the first I found on google). I don't know what else I should prove. Your threat of "giving the boot" to the word only sounds just like a petty retaliation. Besides, when you modify a sentence in the article you must also make sure that the new sentence makes sense in English (try to strike out only from that sentence and check how it sounds). As I said, wait for consensus from other editors, otherwise all you get will be a futile revert war. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:17, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Uncertainty does not equal controversy; there is uncertainty about the Higgs being detected, just as there is about SUSY. I want to see the sources that explicitly say that ONLY the Higgs' detection is uncontroversial (relatively or absolutely). Again I draw your attention to WP:NOR, which prohbits drawing inferences from primary sources. --Michael C. Price talk 10:35, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
It seems to be impossible to discuss physics with you so let's try at least to discuss English usage (and I don't know about you, but I am not even a native speaker). As with the summer/winter issue, you seem to go by your own private dictionary which must be different from everybody else's (mine is just the one implemented in my laptop, New Oxford American Dictionary).
First step: the definition of controversial is given above but I'll repeat it here for completeness:
controversial (adjective) giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement
Perhaps you want to elaborate on that and give your personal definition of the word?
Second step: the sentence in the article that you want to change:
Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty.
the meaning of this sentence is not ambiguous: it means that there is little or no controversy (disagreement among the public, in this case the physics community) on the fact that the LHC will discover the Higgs boson. In other words - and leaving aside the relatively whose meaning I explained elsewhere - the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC is uncontroversial (=everybody in the physics community agrees that the Higgs will be found at the LHC).
Third step: no matter how many verbal mirrors you climb, there is no way that a statement similar to the one above can be applied to any particle predicted by any extension of the SM, included SUSY. This is simply because - until we get results form the LHC - nobody knows with any degree of certainty whether there is new physics at the TeV scale and what this new physics is. The discovery of superpartners at the LHC is currently controversial, because some respectable members of the physics community think that it will happen and some other respectable members of the physics community think that it will not happen. I gave ample evidence of that. Therefore, it seems to me that 1) the change that you made and I reverted was incorrect and 2) the word only suits very well the sentence above.
With this I rest my case, and leave it to the other regular editors. Let me repeat once more that, before making changes to the text on a controversial issue, you should get consensus from the others, otherwise you'll just get an edit war that won't bring you anywhere. But don't despair, if you do not manage to strike out the word only you can still ask for sources on the word the... Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:28, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Once again we see lack of certainty being confused with controversy:
The discovery of superpartners at the LHC is currently controversial, because some respectable members of the physics community think that it will happen and some other respectable members of the physics community think that it will not happen..
Also note this is exactly the same case as with the Higgs: some people think it will be detected, others do not. I've already mentioned this, but see Chris Quigg in Sci Am Feb 2008 pg 38-45 for details; we are only certain to find the Higgs or some new physics; we don't know which. --Michael C. Price talk 12:24, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
1) I still haven't seen your dictionary's definition of "controversial" 2) Higgsless models exist - as mentioned in the very first post of this thread - hence the relatively before uncontroversial (still, as I wrote a few posts above, there has to be some mechanism that explains electroweak symmetry breaking at the ~100 GeV scale and that will be found at the LHC). Now state if you are happy with BenRG's proposal and let's put an end to this. Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:47, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
1) Irrelevant since it is no longer in article. 2) So you agree with Chris Quigg. Good. 3) Not happy with use of the word "certain", see 2) for why. --Michael C. Price talk 12:54, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

BenRG's intervention[edit]

I think I wrote the sentence under dispute. What I meant by it was that people would be shocked if the LHC didn't find the Higgs, where "the Higgs" means "excitations of whatever scalar field is responsible for electroweak symmetry breaking, which might be composite", but it's not such a big deal if SUSY isn't found, because there's no theoretical reason for the superpartners to have accessible masses except that it would be nice because it would solve some other problems that particle physicists and cosmologists happen to have, whereas in the case of the Higgs no one can figure out how to make the Standard Model work at all if it isn't there. "Controversial" wasn't meant to imply an acrimonious debate, just some papers arguing one way and some arguing the other (probably in some cases by the same authors). At the time I thought that Stephen Hawking's anti-Higgs bet was motivated by general uncertainty and a desire to be on the interesting side of the debate, but then I found out about this paper where he actually argues that the LHC won't find a fundamental Higgs even if its mass is in the right range because of some kind of vacuum decoherence effect. I've never heard another name-brand physicist say that they agree with this prediction, so Hawking may be completely alone for all I know, and I wonder if "even this is not considered a certainty" is too strong. What do you think of my edit? Should I have left the {{fact}} tag on? -- BenRG (talk) 12:00, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Chris Quigg reaches a similar conclusion to Hawking, but for different reasons (see above).[6] --Michael C. Price talk 12:26, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Rather than say folks will be shocked by the non-discovery of the higgs, I think it is fairer to say physicists will be disappointed, as they will be if SUSY is not detected; in both cases we've been looking for over 30 years for confirmation of either. Some idea of the hopes and associated disappointment riding on SUSY can be seen in the statement: If the LHC does find supersymmetry, this would he one of the greatest achievements in the history of theoretical physics. --Michael C. Price talk 12:46, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
What is Khalil's link supposed to show? Please stick to the discussion and state if you agree with BenRG proposal so that everybody can go back to their business. If you don't, you can propose an alternative as long as it makes sense in English and in real life. On the implications of the LHC convincingly excluding the Higgs, it would be a bonanza to the physicists, not a disappointment (see Hawking's quote as well as the "off-topic" post of mine near the beginning of the thread) but this is, indeed, off topic. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi BenRG, thanks for your intervention. I did not think that the original formulation was too strong, especially because I interpreted "the Higgs" as the elementary scalar field that goes by that name, therefore I interpreted the even this is not considered as a certainty as a reference to the fact that there are alternative models of electroweak symmetry breaking. Anyway, as I wrote several posts ago, I am not opposed to dropping the word uncontroversial - on whose meaning you and I seem to agree - as long as the proposed modification makes sense in English and does not result in untenable statements such as only the discovery of the Higgs is expected at the LHC. Now, relatively certain sounds just a tiny bit oxymoronic, but some sort of attenuation (the relatively) is indeed necessary. I cannot think right now of a better alternative to certain, and anyway anything goes to bring this silliness to an end. Green light from me. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:36, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

MichaelCPrice's new version[edit]

Hi everybody, since there are serious doubts about both SUSY and the Higgs being discovered I have reworded the text to reflect the degree of anticipation (by physicists) associated with them instead. I think this reflects the priorities of physicists more accurately. --Michael C. Price talk 06:42, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Man, you really must be kidding us. First of all, your statement above that there are serious doubts on the Higgs being discovered flies in the face of everything that is written above (and that you did not object to) as well as what is written in the article of Quigg that you mention. Read that article again, since you seem to be impermeable to whatever I or BenRG write. Consistency with the electroweak precision measurements of the SM requires that the Higgs or something that, from a weak-scale point of view, very much looks like the Higgs must exist with mass below 200 GeV:
The Large Electron Positron collider at CERN, the previous inhabitant of the tunnel now used by the LHC, detected the work of such an unseen hand. Comparison of precise measurements with theory strongly hints that the Higgs exists and has a mass less than about 192 GeV. (...) Accordingly, in common with many of my colleagues, I think it highly likely that both the Higgs boson and other new phenomena will be found with the LHC.
How can you translate those sentences in there are serious doubts on the Higgs being discovered?
Anyway, the sentence written by BenRG with the quotation of Hawking was there to remind the reader that one must keep an open mind and consider also the very exotic possibility that there is no Higgs. Now you have completely distorted the meaning of that paragraph, and the quotation of Hawking hangs there with no connection with the celebratory blah blah that precedes it. Shaaban Khalil is by no means a major player in particle physics and there is no reason for quoting his sentence (next to Hawking's!) instead of thousands of other similar sentences that you can find in thousands of papers. The fact that you googled it is not sufficient justification. Moreover, you keep giving the impression that supersymmetry is the only game in town, while even the article of Quigg that you like so much quotes (with a paragraph each) SUSY, composite models and large extra dimensions as possible extensions of the SM (sounds familiar? if it doesn't, read again my posts at the beginning of this thread).
The most important point however, is that it should be clear by now that we have a controversy on this paragraph, and you are in a minority of one in a discussion with people who know what they are talking about. In such a situation, you should be looking for consensus from the other editors before making substantial changes to the text. Therefore, I am reverting your changes. I am not particularly stuck on the present formulation and I am very willing to keep discussing with you and (hopefully) with BenRG until we find a solution that satisfies everybody, but yours is not the way to proceed. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:58, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Don't inject hostility where none exists. I have no problem working with BenRG.
Neither have I. I just meant that discussions are more productive when there are more than two people discussing.
As for the "serious doubts" the article just said that we couldn't consider the Higgs a certainty, which is what the source says. Your whole flying off handle over "serious doubts" is just tilting at windmills. BTW "something that, from a weak-scale point of view, very much looks like the Higgs" would not be the Higgs.
The source says what I have quoted above, only in your creative English does no certainty equate with serious doubts. Nothing is a certainty until it is discovered by experiment, but there is a strong experimental hint that the Higgs is there, i.e. the consistency of the precise LEP measurements with the predictions of the SM (in contrast, all of the hints for new physics are theoretical). As to the difference between the Higgs and something that looks like the Higgs, google the meaning of effective field theory then come back to discuss.
As for distorting Hawking's message, no, I don't think so (as BenRG has pointed out, Hawking has written an article saying why we might not see the Higgs as well). I actually quoted more or what Hawking said.
Read my post, I did not write that you distort Hawking's message, I wrote that you - once again - tried to change a piece of a sentence without worrying about the consistency of the rest of the paragraph. In the original paragraph there was the mention that not even discovery of the Higgs is a certainty, followed by the quote of Hawking where he bets against the Higgs (see the logical flow?). Now there is some random fawning about supersymmetry and then the anti-Higgs quote of Hawking, without connection between the two.
And it does not make SUSY look like the only game in town. What it does do is stop making the Higgs look like the only game in town. Perhaps that is what is upsetting you?
You make SUSY look like the only game in town when you single it out among the possible extensions of the SM. Quigg (like everybody else) says that it's highly likely that the LHC will found new physics, then proceeds to present three possible new-physics scenarios: SUSY, composite models and large extra dimensions. BTW, composite Higgs models (in the form of technicolor) have been around for as long as SUSY, and large extra dimensions have become popular in the late nineties. This is the article on the LHC, not on SUSY (don't even get me started on that one), and it should not give the impression that the LHC is there only for discovering SUSY.
As for whether I am in a minority of one, well let's see what BenRG thinks. AFAIK my views and rephrasing are quite compatible with his.--Michael C. Price talk 13:26, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
BenRG's input is more than welcome. As I mentioned, I am not against modifying the article, but this should proceed through consensus and not through brute force.
BTW I could let it pass, but your continued incivility and presumption of ignorance on the part of others does you no favours. Revert all you like, but it will make no difference to the final result. You should learn that you need to win people over with your reasoned arguments, not hot-tempered rhetoric which just make you look like,.. well can you guess? --Michael C. Price talk 13:31, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Check how my tone has evolved from the beginning of this thread (actually, the previous one). I started this with the very best intentions, but it's hard to remain kind forever when it looks like you don't even bother to read what I write. That's why I have constantly appealed to the moderation of other editors (which unfortunately appear to be all on holidays). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 14:06, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Another editor has just stepped in. Take note of his edit comments. Cheers. --Michael C. Price talk 14:22, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
This other editor admits that he has not read the thread nor has he figured out what exactly you have changed in the text (see below). Let's give him the time to form his opinion on the discussion... Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:40, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I've reverted the last changed by someone who said that the section was controversial. It is not. SUSY is mainstream theoretical research, and one with high visibility. The article made no claim about the validity of SUSY (of any kind), nor did it made it look like something it was not: People would not be surprised if SUSY was found. On the other hand, finding no SUSY is a serious setback (even though not a critical one) for many (most?) hypothesis of physics beyond the SM, even though it would perhaps not be as surprising as finding no Higgs.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 14:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Headbomb, I think the controversy Ptrslv72 was referring to was this talk page thread, not any controversy among physicists. MichaelCPrice, I have to agree with Ptrslv72; I don't get what you're trying to accomplish here. Your latest edits effectively deleted the disputed sentence and put something else in its place, which doesn't resolve things at all. The Higgs is considered more likely to be found than superpartners or large extra dimensions, even among people who believe in all three. For most of this thread Ptrslv72 assumed you were just objecting to the use of the word "controversial" to describe the finding of superpartners, but apparently that wasn't it since you also disagree with my reworded version. You must either disagree that the discovery of superpartners is considered less likely or else agree with that but think that mentioning it here is an affront to SUSY. I don't think any working particle physicist would agree with either sentiment, though.
As for the new paragraph saying that the Higgs and SUSY are the "most keenly awaited", I don't think I understand what that means. Theorists are keenly awaiting any data the LHC manages to produce; they are desperate. "If the LHC does find supersymmetry, this would [b]e one of the greatest achievements in the history of theoretical physics" is meaningless. Replace "supersymmetry" with "large extra dimensions" or "time travel" or "God" and the statement is still true; in fact it's more true than before. The other possibility is that you mean they are "most keenly awaited" in the sense of being considered most likely to actually pan out, in which case you've just changed the original sentence to your preferred version in a roundabout way and again nothing is resolved. -- BenRG (talk) 14:42, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I interpret "keenly awaited" as in meaning its a viable option that's been proposed since a pretty long time by particle physics standards, and everyone wanting data on this so they can make progress on the question. I'm not an expert on these topics, but at every conference I attended, SUSY was the de facto working hypothesis. Every alternative is pitched as "an alternative to SUSY", SUSY is never pitched as being the alternative to anything else. Comparing SUSY to time travel is a red herring at best. There might be better and clearer ways of saying what is meant, but the current version certainly isn't broken enough to warrant removal of content.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 15:08, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant by "keenly awaited". --Michael C. Price talk 15:23, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Time travel was mentioned in another thread, and has nothing to do with the present discussion. I really think that before taking a position you should take the time to read the thread, and see what we are discussing about. There was a paragraph written by BenRG stating that only the fact that the LHC will discover the Higgs is relatively uncontroversial but even on that there are dissenting voices (Hawking). MichaelCPrice changed the paragraph to make it sound like the fact that the LHC will discover the Higgs AND SUSY is uncontroversial, which I am sure was never claimed in any of the conferences that you attended to (btw, I put a few links to recent conferences near the beginning of the thread, to show that they do not talk only about SUSY). When this did not pass through, he completely altered the paragraph into some fawning about SUSY, leaving Hawking's quote hanging loose. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:37, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I can put the SUSY quote at the end of the paragraph if that makes you happier. --Michael C. Price talk 16:00, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, first of all, we should agree about what that paragraph is supposed to say. The original formulation of BenRG (which I quite liked, and preferred also to the revised formulation of BenRG) said that we pretty much don't know what the LHC is going to find, we expect it to find the Higgs but even that is not 100% sure. Your present formulation puts the stress on how eagerly people hope to find SUSY. No matter what I personally think of SUSY (I am a fan) I totally subscribe to what BenRG writes about it a few lines above, so I will not repeat it here. I can only add that we also need some criterion to choose the quotations. One thing is to quote Stephen Hawking, with a sentence that is actually relevant to the point that BenRG wanted to make. Another thing is to pick up a random sentence from a random guy that (I suspect) you have just found on google. As I already wrote, I can point to hundreds of papers on SUSY and all of them have some motivational blah blah like that in the introduction or conclusions, but so does any other paper on any theoretical yet-to-confirm theory. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:17, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I doubt that you can find a similar quote about, say, extra dimensions, whereas it is easy for SUSY, e.g. (the) Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has a great chance to finally reveal supersymmetry which remains a compelling theory for over 30 years in spite of lack of its discovery. or In many ways, supersymmetry is a more exciting possibility than the Higgs boson, according to theorist Michael Dine, also a professor of physics at UCSC.. --Michael C. Price talk 16:47, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
That's really a softball, what about your beloved Scientific American: The detection of extra dimensions beyond the familiar four—the three dimensions of space and one of time—would be among the most earth-shattering discoveries in the history of physics. Unfortunately, we could go on like this forever and this would not prove anything. Please stick to the discussion: all of the possible extensions of the SM appear one way or another in the list of "key questions" that the LHC might help us answering. The subsequent paragraph of BenRG added the caveat that we really don't know what to expect. Now you've turned that paragraph into something like "BTW, SUSY is great". It made more sense the way it was before. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:49, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Re the quote: good find, but they only say "in history of physics" not "in the history of theoretical physics"......
Oh, and the paragraph is not a "BTW SUSY is great". The Higgs and SUSY are both mentioned 4 times; unlike the paragraph preceeding the list which has Higgs = 3, SUSY = 0.--Michael C. Price talk 19:38, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Re theoretical: so what? I really don't get whether you are kidding or you really think that this is an argument. Re the word count: even if the paragraph says BTW, SUSY & Higgs are great, again, so what? You have altered the meaning of the paragraph and now it says something completely different (and much less to the point) than what it said before. I wish that we all took notice of the level to which this debate has sunk. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 19:57, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Obviously I've changed the meaning of the paragraph. That because I thought it was incorrect and unbalanced and I provided the sources to back this up. That's what substantive edits do. --Michael C. Price talk 20:10, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
That's your opinion, it is at odds with mine but by now it's clear that there is not much I can do to convince you. That's why I keep trying to get other editors involved, and I regret that they did not get involved before the whole debate became too unwieldy to read. So far we collected the opinion of the editor who wrote the original paragraph - who unsurprisingly does not find it incorrect and unbalanced - and the opinion of another editor who passed by, reverted back your change and immediately afterward claimed that he couldn't be bothered to read the debate and check what exactly you had changed. I sincerely hope that Headbomb will find the time to go through the debate and offer more insight, whatever that may turn out to be, and that other regular editors will sooner or later come back from holidays. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 20:52, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Headbomb, controversial changes refers to the fact that MichaelCPrice proceeded unilaterally to change a section that was under intense discussion. Please take the time to read this thread and then (if you feel like) give your opinion about it. I want to stress again that I am not trying to block MichaelCPrice from changing the section, I just want him to propose his changes on the talk page and get consensus on them before implementing them. The only time he did propose a change in advance, it resulted in an untenable sentence: Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is expected, but even this is not considered a certainty. I tried to engage him in a discussion on that sentence but he just stopped talking about it and moved on. Then BenRG implemented a change that seemed to placate the discussion, until this morning MichaelCPrice turned the tables again by completely altering the meaning of the paragraph. Anyway, your input in this discussion will be welcome. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:05, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

I really couldn't be bothered to figure out how things were before and the whole history of the debate. Take a look at the current version of the article. Is it good? Yes --> Let's keep it. Could it be better? Yes --> Let's improve it. All else is bureaucracy. Michael was bold, and now you've reverted and discussed (the RD of WP:BRD), which leads me to believe that you've succeded in removing the contentious material since you're arguing that this version is objectionable only on the basis that procedure was not followed. If that's the only thing that's objectionable, then the issue is settled, consensus has been achieved, and we can now move on to tweaking how to best say what is meant.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 15:19, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Please, I am not arguing that the section is objectionable on the basis of the procedure. MichaelCPrice has basically reintroduced by stealth the changes that I had originally reverted, and I am arguing against those changes. I just wanted to clarify that I don't have anything personal on MichaelCPrice and that I am willing to come to a compromise. The reason why I find his changes objectionable are spelled out in the thread, I wasted already a lot of time with it and I don't think that I should summarize them again. I am afraid that, before taking sides, you will have to bother reading the debate. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:25, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Then could you at least give me the UTC time stamps of the remarks that still apply.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 16:03, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Alas, I am arguing that - for what concerns the Purpose section - we should revert to the original version of 13:32, 26 July 2009 or - second best - to BenRG's version of 11:59, 28 July 2009. Therefore all of the comments after July 26 are relevant to the discussion (the previous ones just set the context). I realize that it is a lot to take (just imagine how much it was to write) but you were very quick in taking sides and reverting my change, I think it would have been fairer to read first what exactly we were arguing about. After that, I am more than willing to discuss with you and find compromises (I have been calling for other editors' intervention all the time, since my dialogue with MichelCPrice quickly turned into a dialogue between deaf people). Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

I feel trapped. I can't deal with these rapid-fire back-and-forth threads, but I can't leave because I don't want the "winner" to be the last man standing. I'd like to have a slower discussion if possible.

I think I'm now in favor of deleting the paragraph. It was always somewhat arbitrary in focus. I still say that the discovery of the Higgs is considered by far the safest bet for the LHC, not because superpartners are thought not to exist but because they needn't be in the narrow energy range where the LHC would see them but earlier colliders wouldn't. Everyone should agree on that (Michael, do you?). The pre-thread paragraph said that the Higgs was a safe bet and mentioned superpartners in passing, since they're also a possibility. But there are a lot of other things you can say about the LHC. The paragraph quoted Hawking, which always embarrassed me, because Hawking is one of those people who's perceived totally differently by physicists and laypeople. To the average man on the street he's a supergenius, the greatest living physicist, etc., while to other physicists he's that guy who's always talking about evaporating black holes. Whenever I cite Hawking I feel like I'm unfairly playing off his celebrity status to give his statements a weight they shouldn't really have. If you subtract the summary of his BBC interview there's practically nothing left of the paragraph, and what is left feels like a non sequitur when you consider we've just come off a bullet list that mentioned a bunch of things other than the Higgs. Michael's rewrite I don't like because it sounds like—well, like Scientific American. At least the old paragraph had a bit of what felt like real physics in it, with its discussion of relative likelihoods of various outcomes as opposed to relative levels of coolness. "If the LHC does find supersymmetry, this would be one of the greatest achievements in the history of theoretical physics" is from a different world. It's written by the kind of person who writes "World War II was an important event in world history" in their history report. Again, delete the Hawking interview, which I don't like, and the Khalil quote, which doesn't belong in a physics article, and there's not much left. Why do we need this paragraph again? -- BenRG (talk) 08:32, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi BenRG, sorry I did not notice your latest post and tried to restart the discussion on a clean slate with the new section below (if you think it is appropriate, you might move your latest comment and this reply down there). The discussion is too quick because for most of the time there are only two people discussing, I am sure that it will become more considerate if it becomes a real debate. I share your second thoughts about the Hawking quote, but I liked how your original formulation of the paragraph clarified - after the long list of things that the LHC could possibly discover - that we really don't know for sure what to expect. That was for me the main reason why we needed the paragraph, and I think that we certainly don't need it in the present formulation. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:09, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi BenRG,
let me clarify something which I had thought was clear but evidently isn't. I do not regard the discovery of the Higgs as a safe bet (see the Quigg ref in the article), which was my principal reason for changing the paragraph. Since it is not a safe bet, we can't know that it is the safest, and in particular we can't know that it is more likely than the discovery of SUSY. So instead of making contentious pronoucements on their relative likelihoods I thought it safer to talk instead about the degree to which the Higgs and SUSY's putative discoveries are keenly awaited, since both have been searched for for 30+ years. Talking about Higgs and SUSY together is quite justified by the sources we have (look at the LHC FAQ, for example, which goes on about SUSY almost as much as the Higgs). Hawking mentions them both together as well, which brings us to...
I agree with your opinion of Hawking, but the point is he is famous and therefore the public (for whom this article is written) listen to what he says. As for sounding too Sci Am, well Sci Am is written to be accessible to the public, so the article on a topic of public interest should sound like Sci Am in places. I have no problem with that.
Finally with regards to the Khalil quote, I don't think it is over the top. SUSY is an important development in the history of theoretical physics. It is an extension of the Poincare group, motivated entirely for abstract reasons, with no experimental support at the moment. If validated then it will be a turning point in the theory-experiment relationship. (No doubt you could say the same for strings, but that's another story; and of course strings are dependent on SUSY.)
--Michael C. Price talk 09:57, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Could you please clarify where in the Quigg ref you get the impression that the Higgs is not a safe bet? As I already pointed out above, the Quigg ref says: The Large Electron Positron collider at CERN, the previous inhabitant of the tunnel now used by the LHC, detected the work of such an unseen hand. Comparison of precise measurements with theory strongly hints that the Higgs exists and has a mass less than about 192 GeV. (...) Accordingly, in common with many of my colleagues, I think it highly likely that both the Higgs boson and other new phenomena will be found with the LHC. For the rest, I don't think that anybody in the physics community would agree with your statement that we can't know that [the discovery of the Higgs] is more likely than the discovery of SUSY. Consistency with the precise electroweak measurements is an important experimental constraint on what the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking should look like, whereas all of the arguments in favour of beyond-SM physics at the weak scale are based on theoretical considerations. Such considerations (mostly, the hierarchy problem) are undoubtedly powerful, which is why Quigg states that it is highly likely that new phenomena will be discovered at the LHC. However, Quigg does not mention only SUSY among the possible new phenomena. While calling SUSY a leading contender (note a, not the), he devotes a paragraph each to SUSY, composite models and extra dimensions. In summary, your Quigg quote does not appear to substantiate the claims you make. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:19, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Why do I have to spoon feed you? Look at the very first bullet point the article leads off with
Key Concepts:* The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is certain to find something new and provocative as it presses into unexplored territory.
which is elaborated later as
This mass threshold means, among other things, that something new—either a Higgs boson or other novel phenomena—is to be found when the LHC turns the thought experiment into a real one.
Yes, there are hints of the Higgs, but there are also hints of SUSY, which we've discussed before.--Michael C. Price talk 11:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
The whole article is there for everybody to read, no point in arguing further about our favourite quotes... Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:45, 30 July 2009 (UTC)


The article says that "at most 29 magnets have been damaged in the incident and will have to be repaired or replaced during the winter shutdown". Yet according to this press release, "in total 53 magnets were removed", while "the remaining 37 were replaced by spares".L'omo del batocio (talk) 07:47, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

That sentence was probably based on preliminary information and it's clearly outdated (will have to be repaired). Feel free to update the section with a reference to the most recent press releases. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 08:49, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

NY Times article about problems[edit]

While we worry about getting the wording of the rationale just right, I think all of us should read and ponder this article in today's NYT. It says 5000 splices between the bending magnets need to be checked and redone, and that the magnet "training" has turned out to be fragile and impermanent. I personally have faith (physicists need a lot of faith, actually...) that these problems will be solved eventually, but I am beginning to hope I live long enough to see the Higgs. Alas, Wwheaton (talk) 17:03, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like they can still get beyond Fermilab, which is good. But a bit worrying that they are not sure of the cause of the problem.--Michael C. Price talk 18:41, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
This info has been around for a while, but it's the first time that I read an estimate for the initial energy below 5 TeV/beam. For more details on the joints, see this talk, especially the slides 41-52. For the underperforming magnets see slide 19 of this other talk. An interesting point is that nobody ever mentions which company (out of the three that shared the job) produced the faulty magnets...
A small aside for Michael: note how in this NYT article it looks like physicists are most keenly awaiting extra dimensions (unsurprisingly so, as Randall and Arkani-Hamed are among those who might win a Nobel prize if they are found). Again, measuring the amount of keenness with which people expect various kinds of new physics looks like a futile and subjective exercise. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 21:59, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I thought you might mention that :-). I have removed the prefix "most" from "keenly awaited" and tied it to the 30 years. --Michael C. Price talk 07:08, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Michael this is a small progress (it will take more than that to make me swallow the rest of the paragraph, though). Here I just wanted to point out a new post on the splices issue from a usually well-informed blogger. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 09:53, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Last week's issue of the AAAS journal Science also describes the problem as its lead "News of the Week" article. Ref is Vol 325, #5940, p. 522, 31 July 2009, "More bad connections may limit LHC energy or delay restart". The new problem is with the connections to the copper "stabilizers" around the superconducting joints between the bending magnets. Wwheaton (talk) 16:28, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

There appears to be duplication between the "test timeline" and "Construction accidents and delays" sections, since the latter impacts on the former. --Michael C. Price talk 17:17, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi, the new timeline has just been made public. The LHC will start in November at 3.5 TeV/beam, ramp up to 5 TeV/beam during 2010, then shut down at the end of 2010 to allow for the repair works that should hopefully take it to 7 TeV/beam. Somebody should update the "Test Timeline" section (and possibly harmonise it with "Construction accidents and delays" section as per MichaelCPrice's post above). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:20, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

SUSY or no SUSY - Part 2[edit]

Due to a standoff between myself and editor MichaelCPrice, a debate on the paragraph of the Purpose section that follows the list of key questions that the LHC might help answering has taken biblical proportions (see previous thread), scaring off other potential contributors. In the hope of stimulating the involvement of other editors, I summarize the changes undergone by the article in the last few days.

The original version of the paragraph, written by editor BenRG, was meant to stress the fact that we really don't know for sure what the LHC might discover. It read:

Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is relatively uncontroversial, but even this is not considered a certainty. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that "whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."

MichaelCPrice found that the paragraph did not give enough prominence to SUSY, and changed it into:

Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, the confirmation of supersymmetry, with the detection of superpartners, and the Higgs particle are relatively uncontroversial, but even these are not considered a certainties. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that "whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."

I (and later BenRG) objected that the expectation that the LHC will discover superpartners is by no means as uncontroversial as the expectation that it will discover the Higgs, and reverted the change (btw the change had also been reverted by another editor, Fred Stober, and immediately restated by MichaelCPrice on the basis that some evidence for SUSY exists). A long discussion followed (see above) seemingly centered on the meaning of controversial and uncontroversial and on how well those terms could apply to the discoveries of Higgs and SUSY, respectively. To break the controversy, BenRG proposed the following variation:

Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is considered relatively certain, but even this has been questioned. Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking mentions the possibility of finding superpartners and adds that "whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."

This seemed to placate the discussion, until the next day MichaelCPrice turned the paragraph into something completely different:

Of the discoveries the LHC might make, the possibility of the discovery of the Higgs particle and supersymmetry are the most keenly awaited by the physicists, although neither of these can be considered certainties. 1 Both have been anticipated for over 30 years. Of supersymmetry it has been said "If the LHC does find supersymmetry, this would he one of the greatest achievements in the history of theoretical physics." 2 Of the Higgs Stephen Hawking said in a BBC interview that "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of one hundred dollars that we won't find the Higgs." In the same interview Hawking also mentions the possibility of finding superpartners, which he says "would be a key confirmation of string theory" and adds that "Whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe."

I have a lot of problems with this formulation (the relevance, the logic, the choice of quotations, the overall consistency of the paragraph) some of them are detailed in the thread above but I will undoubtedly have a chance to repeat them in this thread (not now). I reverted MichaelCPrice's change, but another editor (Headbomb) immediately reverted it back. BenRG also criticized the new paragraph, while Headbomb seemed to support it, although he mentioned not having read the debate nor figured out exactly what had changed in the article.

I hope that this summary of the debate is short enough that other editors will be willing to jump in. For the details on the various arguments they can check the thread above. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 08:59, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Ptrslv72, please stop rewriting and editing past contributions to the talk page. Apart from misrepresenting my motivations and what actually happened, it is a serious violation of talk page guidelines.--Michael C. Price talk 10:02, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I have not edited past contributions (apart from one single case at the beginning of the previous thread in which a displaced a comment of yours and stated clearly that I did it and why). The reason why I wrote this summary is spelled out on top of the section. I have merely transcribed the changes that were made to the article - which anyway everybody can check with the history tool - and tried to abstain from judgments on the reasons why the changes were made. If you are unhappy with any of the sentences above just propose corrections before this section too takes on biblical length. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:37, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Take a leaf out of Headbomb's book for christ's sake won't you? Haven't you got it yet? NO-ONE is interested in the history. Only in what improves article. I am not going to waste my time trying to correct some Stalinesque rewrite of history. Substantive issues only. --Michael C. Price talk 10:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I am arguing that - to improve the article from it present form - we should revert to the original version of the paragraph. Therefore it does not seem irrelevant to state what the original and the latest versions are (btw, Headbomb is the one who said that he did not know what the paragraph looked like before your change). BenRG's intermediate version is a second-best option for me so it might also be transcribed. As to your first change, well, I thought it useful to let other editors see what we are discussing about without going through the thread (which - anyway - I would encourage all the interested people to do). Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 12:05, 30 July 2009 (UTC)


Why don't we shift again the focus of the paragraph in this way:

Of the possible discoveries the LHC might make, only the discovery of the Higgs particle is considered relatively uncontroversial, due to the impressive agreement between the precise measurements of electroweak observables at the LEP and the Tevatron and the predictions of the Standard Model. 1 However, strong theoretical reasons lead physicists to expect that the LHC will discover new phenomena beyond those predicted by the Standard Model. Referring to the so-called hierarchy problem of the Standard Model, namely the fact that the Higgs boson mass is subject to very large corrections that - barring extremely precise cancellations - would make it far too heavy to be compatible with the electroweak precision measurements, Chris Quigg writes: "Physicists have learned to be suspicious of immensely precise cancellations that are not mandated by deeper principles. Accordingly, in common with many of my colleagues, I think it highly likely that both the Higgs boson and other new phenomena will be found with the LHC." 1 He then goes on presenting supersymmetry as a leading candidate for physics beyond the Standard Model, together with technicolor and large extra dimensions.

This would explain why the discovery of the Higgs is more uncontroversial than the discovery of physics beyond the SM, while stressing that physicists have good reasons to hope for something more exotic. We would get rid of the quote of Hawking, who despite his superstar status in cosmology is not a major contributor to particle physics, as well as of the quote of Khalil who in this context is just a passer-by. We would also give SUSY a slightly prominent role among the possible extensions of the SM, without forgetting that it is not the only one. The article of Quiggs seems fair and balanced to me, if we have to give one quote I would give that one. I am not such a fan of the BRD method, so comments and discussions are welcome before I implement this change. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:14, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

On a second thought, we should replace far too heavy to be compatible with the electroweak precision measurements with so heavy as to undermine the consistency of the theory or something to that effect. As written in Quigg's article, the real problem of a super-heavy Higgs is the unitarity of W-W scattering, not just the consistency with the electroweak precision measurements. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 13:34, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
What about this: Referring to the so-called hierarchy problem, namely the fact that the Higgs boson mass is subject to quantum corrections which - barring extremely precise cancellations - would make it so large as to undermine the internal consistency of the Standard Model, Chris Quigg writes (...) Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 14:00, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
As nobody seems to react, I'll bow to BRD, go on and implement the change. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:15, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I see a problem right at the start:
only the discovery of the Higgs particle is considered relatively uncontroversial
We're just going around in circles here, aren't we? I asked for a source for only quite a while ago and I haven't seen one yet. And by a source I mean an explicit quote, not some infererence from a select score of primary sources (i.e. WP:OR). Quigg won't do because whilst he says he thinks the Higgs is "quite likely" he makes no comparative statememnt with SUSY. And once again I must remind you that controversial and unexpected are not the same.
But I've said this all before. Really what is the point?
--Michael C. Price talk 16:23, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Suddenly you wake up one second after I implement the change... The difference w.r.t. the old version is that I explain what distinguishes the case of the Higgs from the case of BSM physics, and I do so by quoting nearly verbatim the article of Scientific American. Now, feel free to attach your tag to the word only and let's see what the other editors suggest. Since we've already been through this discussion they will just have to go through the thread to read the opposing arguments. Anyway, at least the present formulation is about physics (and to me it looks like a decent summary of Quigg's article) and not about media hype. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
PS Why the sudden flip on Hawking?; just now you were arguing for his retention. Could it be that you don't like his enthusiasm for SUSY? Or is it just that you feel compelled to disagree with everything I say? --Michael C. Price talk 16:29, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I was arguing that the old version of the paragraph was better than the new one. But since you were so kind as to provide the Quigg reference - which is better than Hawking's - and since I am trying to meet halfway and shift the focus of the paragraph to a more upbeat message - i.e. that the LHC will probably find some kind of new physics - I though why not. You should be happy instead of complaining. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW waiting a whole 2 hours before declaring a consensus is just plain silly and incredibly pigheaded. It also makes you a complete hypocrite since you gave us that long lecture about reverting against the consensus. Headbomb and several others have established a new consensus. Live with it and take your own medicine. --Michael C. Price talk 16:39, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I did not declare any sort of consensus. I waited three hours for any reaction (while before my proposal there was a post per minute) then got bored and wrote "I'll bow to BRD", which seems to be the way to go. Concerning hypocrisy you should shut up, since you waited silently for me to implement the change and then reacted one second later. And pray what would be the new consensus? Headbomb reverted back your change and boasted immediately afterwards that he couldn't bother to read what we were discussing about. BenRG does not agree with your paragraph. Who are the several others??? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
There you go with your paranoid delusions. I did not "wait silently"; I just returned from the real world and saw your action. Check the time stamps on the talk page and compare with the article's if you don't believe me. I see you now try to deny there is any consensus, unlike before when you were happy with the article. You were quick and most adament about the consensus then, weren't you? Now you can't see it right under your nose. How convenient. You're right BenRG probably doesn't agree (I say probably, because I still await his response to my feedback). No one else though, and several editors have updated the article in the meantime, tacitly accepting the changes. --Michael C. Price talk 17:31, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, I now see that you were not stalking my edit, I take it back. Re the consensus, I don't understand what you are talking about: I claimed that there was no consensus when you made the change and I disagreed, and I am aware that there is no consensus when I make the change and you disagree. What happened in the meantime, is that my lecture on consensus was countered by Headbomb with a lecture (and a WP link) on the BRD policy. Since this seems to be the only way to attract the attention of other editors, I thought so be it. However, your idea that the editors who make changes to other sections of the article are in tacit agreement with your latest edit and must be counted in you camp seems really really funny to me, I wonder if there is a WP link even for that... Finally, I might be wrong but I don't recall ever sinking to the level of calling you names. But it's OK, since this is your turn please be as uncivil as possible, especially in the edit summaries. This will attract the attention of other editors who might eventually get interested in the topic. See, my problem with the previous thread was that I spent too many words discussing both physics and the logical consistency of paragraphs, this made the whole discussion too long to read and scared away other editors, leaving the two of us in a deadlock. A few well-placed changes and reverts and insults seem to be much more effective... Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 18:13, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Declaration of intent to be uncivil and to engage in edit warring noted. Suggestion: if you want your changes to stick find a suitable source that explicitly declares that only the Higgs' discovery is uncontroversial. My material is all sourced. If you can source your material then we can merge. Get googling.--Michael C. Price talk 19:23, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Off hand it seems to me it would be a good idea to slow down the edit rate by an order of magnitude or more. There are other people interested in this article after all, most of whom do not look at it every hour. I think it could well take a week to arrive at a genuine consensus. So how about cutting back to a couple of edits a day (of the controversial paragraph, anyhow)? As it is there is no time for a genuine consensus to appear, and people start to get testy. (Personally BTW, I would favor highlighting the Higgs as the capstone needed for the Standard Model, and SUSY and other possible extensions as exciting but less widely expected.) Wwheaton (talk) 19:51, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Good suggestion. By way of signing off, though, I'll point out that some of sources cited in the article that support claim that the Higgs will be detected (e.g. Why the LHC) actually only say it is likely, and they say the same of SUSY. So even in its present form, there are NPOV issues. Over and out (for awhile).--Michael C. Price talk 20:05, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi Wwheaton, I edited the controversial paragraph three times in three days and for the whole length of the discussion I have been begging other editors to get involved. If anybody had paid attention earlier, I guess that things wouldn't have gotten so out of hand. Anyway, since only seems to be such a major stumbling block, why not to get rid of it? My formulation of the contested paragraph stands on its feet even without it, differently from the original version of BenRG. This leads us to my

Second Proposal[edit]

Among the possible discoveries the LHC might make, the discovery of the Higgs boson is considered relatively uncontroversial, due to the impressive agreement between the precise measurements of electroweak observables at the LEP and the Tevatron and the predictions of the Standard Model. 1 Moreover, strong theoretical reasons lead physicists to expect that the LHC will discover new phenomena beyond those predicted by the Standard Model. Referring to the so-called hierarchy problem, namely the fact that the Higgs boson mass is subject to quantum corrections which - barring extremely precise cancellations - would make it so large as to undermine the internal consistency of the Standard Model, Chris Quigg writes: "Physicists have learned to be suspicious of immensely precise cancellations that are not mandated by deeper principles. Accordingly, in common with many of my colleagues, I think it highly likely that both the Higgs boson and other new phenomena will be found with the LHC." 1 He then goes on presenting supersymmetry as a leading candidate for physics beyond the Standard Model, together with technicolor and large extra dimensions.

It is a bit more upbeat and optimistic that I would like it to be, but it still maintains some sort of distinction between what we expect to be there on the basis of indirect experimental evidence (the Higgs) and what we expect to be there on the basis of theoretical arguments (the new physics). And in any case it contains more information and less hype than the present formulation. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 23:45, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that the very "strong theoretical reasons [that] lead physicists to expect that the LHC will discover new phenomena beyond those predicted by the Standard Model" are the same reasons that undermine the certainty that the Higgs will be discovered. The article's present formulation is more accessible to the general public and better sourced since it relies more on direct quotations and less on selective inference. (E.g. Hawking's point about SUSY /strings is important and lost above.) But we do need to make Quigg's point about the only certainty is the discovery of the Higgs or something novel -- this point is not made clearly enough in the article as it stands, and is totally obscured in the proposal above. I am glad to see the unsourced word "only" dropped, though. That shows we're making progress.--Michael C. Price talk 08:48, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The most important reason that leads us to expect the discovery of physics beyond the SM is the hierarchy problem. What you are referring to is that one of the solutions to the hierarchy problem postulates that the Higgs is not an elementary scalar field but it is composite, and its compositeness could be revealed at the LHC. However, the major problem for all composite models is to accommodate the fact that the electroweak measurements at the LEP and the Tevatron are in very good agreement with the predictions of the Standard Model, obtained under the assumption of the existence of an elementary scalar field with mass below 200 GeV. Barring again very unplausible conspiracies among the new-physics contributions to the precision observables, there must either be an elementary scalar Higgs (as is the case of the SM, SUSY and extra dimensional models) or the composite field must, from the point of view of an effective field theory valid at the weak scale, behave exactly like an elementary scalar field. In this case it is a quite fine point whether, at that energy scale, it is the Higgs or not. I interpreted the sentence this is not a certainty in the original paragraph of BenRG as a reference to the possibility of compositeness, while BenRG later clarified that he interpreted the Higgs in his sentence as either elementary scalar or composite-but-behaving-like-scalar. A cheap solution to this fuzziness could be to replace relatively uncontroversial with highly plausible in my proposal, but I have nothing against elaborating further the paragraph to make the point clearer. The more information we give on the physics, the better. What I find unacceptable in your solution is that instead of clarifying the physics you throw the paragraph away, and replace it with an ode to SUSY with little informative content apart from how great it would be if we found it.
Just to speed up the convergence (if there ever will be one), here are criteria that the paragraph should meet to gain my approval. I think that every working physicist would have no problem in agreeing with them, and I would really like to hear the opinion of the other editors:
1) the paragraph should highlight one way or another the fact that there is a hierarchy of plausibility between the discovery of the Higgs and the discovery of new physics at the LHC. Believe it or not, everybody in the physics community feels that way, and the electroweak precision measurements are a strong ingredient of that feeling.
2) it should not give the impression that SUSY is the only extension of the SM that is currently studied or considered likely to show up, because that is simply not true. I gave you links to recent physics conferences to prove it (check also this, it was the BSM-theory plenary talk at EPS-HEP 2009)
3) it should not contain a meaningless quote from the abstract of a random paper of a little-known physicist, just because it reflects your personal sentiment about SUSY (which btw is not much different from mine, but I don't think that I should use Wikipedia to express it). As stressed by BenRG, a sentence like the "If the LHC does find ****, this would be one of the greatest achievements in the history of theoretical physics. works equally well no matter what new phenomenon (including the Higgs) you put instead of the ****, and contains absolutely no information. You can buy sentences like that by the dozen, as I already showed you here.
As I said, I think that all the information we need is in Quigg's article. My version of the paragraph sounds to me like a decent summary of it, but of course we can improve it. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:29, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
P.S. As for the SUSY/strings connection, I think that a sentence like the discovery of SUSY would provide a key confirmation of string theory is over-hyped, in particular confirmation is way over the top. Strings do require SUSY at the Planck scale, but there could equally well be strings at the Planck scale without SUSY at the weak scale, or SUSY at the weak scale without strings at the Planck scale. Unfortunately, string theory is still unable to make predictions about whatever we might find at the LHC, therefore there is no way that the LHC could provide any key confirmation of it. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:45, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Non-SUSY strings are probably a detail best left to their respective articles. The LHC article already states (repeatedly) that strings require SUSY, without qualification. If you want to change that or make the article inconsistent, then that will also require consensus from others. Let's see what they say.--Michael C. Price talk 11:45, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Huh? nobody mentioned non-SUSY strings, only superstrings give a consistent theory of quantum gravity. But supersymmetry might be manifest only at the Planck scale, where the "stringy" nature of particles becomes relevant. Think about it a little and you'll understand what I meant in my previous post. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
If no one mentioned non-SUSY strings then what was the point of your SUSY/string comments? Just quibbling for the sake of it? You may not like the way Hawking expressed himself with "confirmation", but that's life; he's notable and you're not (and neither am I), which is why his comments appear in the article. --Michael C. Price talk 14:56, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
You clearly don't understand what I wrote above, and I won't waste another half page explaining basic physics concepts to you. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:09, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I made the mistake of thinking that you were trying to say something relevant; now I see I was mistaken. So sorry. The issue here, remember, is about Hawking's use of the word "confirmation". If you want to add the explanatory rider that what Hawking means is that strings require SUSY, but that SUSY does not require strings, that's fine with me. --Michael C. Price talk 16:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Rather than retaining a poorly-worded sentence and explaining what it means, why don't we drop it, as was the case in the original formulation? Anyway, my proposal would be to drop the Hawking quote altogether and replace it with the more relevant quote from Quigg. Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 19:33, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't see why we can't have use Quigg and Hawking as sources. It's not an either/or situation.--Michael C. Price talk 09:45, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Third Proposal[edit]

While waiting for signs of life from other editors, let me offer a third proposal meant to overcome MichaelCPrice's objection on the use of uncontroversial:

The expectation that the Higgs boson will be discovered at the LHC is reinforced by the impressive agreement between the precise measurements of electroweak observables at the LEP and the Tevatron and the predictions of the Standard Model (formulated under the assumption that the Higgs boson exists). 1 Moreover, there are strong theoretical reasons leading physicists to expect that the LHC will discover new phenomena beyond those predicted by the Standard Model. Referring to the so-called hierarchy problem, namely the fact that the Higgs boson mass is subject to quantum corrections which - barring extremely precise cancellations - would make it so large as to undermine the internal consistency of the Standard Model, Chris Quigg writes: "Physicists have learned to be suspicious of immensely precise cancellations that are not mandated by deeper principles. Accordingly, in common with many of my colleagues, I think it highly likely that both the Higgs boson and other new phenomena will be found with the LHC." 1 He then goes on presenting supersymmetry as a leading candidate for physics beyond the Standard Model, together with composite-Higgs models and large extra dimensions.

It does no longer claim that the discovery of the Higgs boson is uncontroversial, or even likely. It just says that the electroweak precision measurements reinforce our belief in the existence of the Higgs (note that the precision observables business is well explained by Quigg in the reference). I do realize that my version might be slightly less accessible to the general public than the present formulation, but this is mostly because it contains some actual pieces of information, as opposed to boilerplate motivational sentences on SUSY picked from little-known review papers of two random physicists, and a somewhat unrelated quote on the Higgs from Hawking. Still, it can certainly be improved. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 17:40, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it is less accessible. For that reason I propose we retain the existing paragraph and work on improving this one. Personally I think there is enough material about the Higgs in the section already, but if you insist on inserting more, and others agree, I won't object. --Michael C. Price talk 09:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion there is not much to save in the present formulation. 1) the fact that the Higgs and SUSY are the most keenly awaited is a subjective judgment, and it could actually be argued that the discovery of extra dimensions would be much more exciting (earth-shattering, as in the quote that I provided) than the discovery of SUSY. 2) the quote of Khalil is absolutely content-free, as I argued above and won't repeat here. 3) the quote of Hawking is also problematic: the part on the anti-Higgs bet was relevant in the original formulation, where it substantiated the statement that the discovery of the Higgs is not considered a certainty. In the present formulation, where the emphasis of the first sentence is on how great it would be to discover SUSY and the Higgs, this quote feels somewhat out of place. As to the sentence on string theory, which had been dropped from the original formulation, the word confirmation is clearly misused, because detection of SUSY at the LHC would not confirm string theory, just as failure to detect SUSY at the LHC would not invalidate string theory. But if we drop those quotes, what's left of the paragraph? Cheers Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:36, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
As I told you on your talk page, Hawking's wording is consistent with his beliefs; it is not "clearly misused". All else here is repetition, which I won't bother to rehash until someone else indicates an interest. --Michael C. Price talk 21:58, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

One week has passed since Wwheaton's suggestion that we slow down the edit rate by an order of magnitude and, despite admirable discipline on both MichaelCPrice's side and mine, this does not seem to have encouraged other editors to contribute to our discussion. Also, despite a few small conciliatory steps on both sides, my version of the contested paragraph and Michael's version remain very different from each other, both in content and in purpose. For what concerns the present version, BenRG has expressed disagreement and Headbomb has expressed agreement. As to my proposal, no other editor apart from myself and Michael bothered to comment (with the mild exception of Wwheaton's I would favor highlighting the Higgs as the capstone needed for the Standard Model, and SUSY and other possible extensions as exciting but less widely expected). It's hard to see a consensus forming in either direction.

I find it quite annoying that the balance of the discussion was tipped by an editor (Headbomb) who reinstated Michael's version because he did not like the edit summary of my revert, boasted that he couldn't be bothered reading what the debate was about, and never came back to comment on its developments. But well, life is not supposed to be fair, and now it is my version that sits at the receiving end of the "undo" button. Nevertheless, I'll try once again to rock the boat and implement it in the article. I have little illusions on the outcome, but it might be that MichaelCPrice's inevitable revert will attract the attention of other editors and restart the debate. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 15:20, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I have delibrately refrained from reading your update until after I comment here, but the omens look bad:
  1. You accuse Headbomb (again) of "boasting" and of refusal to engage in dialogue. He did not boast in any way. When he asked for the diffs of your text that you claimed would reveal all you refused. It never seems to occur to you that his resuling silence is a result of your refusal to engage in a meaningful fashion.
  2. Calling my contribution "platitudes" in the latest edit commentary speaks volumes for your antagonistic attitude and lack of objectivity.
Now let's see what you done.... --Michael C. Price talk 16:10, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Read the debate, I did not refuse anything. Headbomb did not ask for the diffs of my text (which he could have found by himself with just one click). He asked which parts of the debate were still relevant and I answered that - alas - most of the debate was. Then I parsed the old debate in subsections and transcribed the various versions of the paragraph at the beginning of this section, just to make things easier for him and the for other contributors. This was met by you with the accusation of Stalinesque rewriting of history. Now I am sorry but I won't be online until tomorrow. Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 16:27, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
You refused to give him the time stamps. --Michael C. Price talk 17:15, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
That's ludicrous. I told him that all of the comments written after a certain time (i.e. after your first modification) were relevant to the discussion (besides, any selection among the comments could have been seen as "rewriting history"). What should I have done, list the time stamp of each comment? Ptrslv72 (talk) 10:43, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I see that you have restored your paragraph, commenting in the edit summary that the LHC is more than just a Higgs detector. In no way did my version of the paragraph suggest that. Five lines out of seven (on my screen) are devoted to explaining why we expect that the LHC will find physics beyond the SM. Moreover, among the possible extensions of the SM that the LHC might find, SUSY is given a somewhat privileged position. I really don't understand your urge to further emphasize how great it would be to find SUSY, nor your insistence on quoting random review articles from relatively unknown physicists to back that up. On the other hand, I appreciate your idea of leaving both paragraphs on. Now the section looks so rambling and inconsistent that hopefully somebody else will feel compelled to step in and improve it (btw, there are now two separate references to Quigg's article). Cheers, Ptrslv72 (talk) 11:11, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Glad to see you overcame your aversion to Scientific American :-) --Michael C. Price talk 07:29, 9 August 2009 (UTC)