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Large Hadron Collider-Was It Really Necessary?

Posted on July 10, 2012 in Sci-Tech, Specials

By Pankaj Khandelwal:

Alright, it’s about a week since the discovery of the Higgs boson particle and all the global media fanfare it received. All of these media houses, influential people from the field of science and other walks of life praised the discovery. Out of so much of hullabaloo, it’s time to ponder whether we really needed this advancement.

For the starters let me explain what was the exact purpose of building the Large Hadron Collider. Wikipedia puts this as “answer some of the fundamental open questions in physics, concerning the basic laws governing the interactions and forces among the elementary objects, the deep structure of space and time, and in particular the interrelation between quantum mechanics and general relativity, where current theories and knowledge are unclear or break down altogether.” In layman’s terms it was built to increase our knowledge about the universe. Made with the budget of nearly $9bn or Rs.4950bn as of 2010 was this instrument really necessary for the world at the time when half of the world economy is under crisis. For the sake of comparison, 51 countries have a GDP less than $9bn. With vast amount of money involved, it makes me wonder how necessary this experiment was.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there were nearly 925million (2010) hungry people in the world, with major chunk of them residing in Asia Pacific region. Every year 15 million children die around the world due to hunger. Apart from the food problems, the problem of illiteracy is also hurting the world. Over 793 million people in the world are illiterate and for the astonishing part 32million people in United States lack basic literacy. With lots of other problems prevailing throughout the world, couldn’t this money be used for tackling these problems? What will the common man gain from the discovery of Higgs boson when the probability of his or her being alive is too thin? Why will a citizen, of any country supporting this experiment financially, be excited about this achievement when he cannot keep his family nourished? When most of the people are illiterate what sense will it make to them when they hear about this discovery? Moreover the discovery of these particles doesn’t answer all of the questions about the existence of the universe. This is just a stepping stone and much larger experiments need to be conducted to get a clear picture about the Universe. Conducting experiments which can influence a larger amount of people is the need of the hour.