SUPER CONDUCTOR SUPER COLLIDER
FALSE ALARM, PHYSICS IS ALIVE AND WELL
My letter to the New York Times submitted with this article.
My article has two distinct parts. The first part presents a different point of view from Mr. Teresi's article published earlier by the Times and subsequently by the International Herald Tribune (June 16th 1994 issue). The second part is my conjecture with the intention to show that new ideas will continue to guarantee the progress of physics. It outlines a pioneering idea that space is not empty, but full of countless incessantly moving massless "primary matter" particles. This logical deduction may help physicists one day to create a "Grand Unification Theory," after forty years of unsuccessful attempts. My article was not published.
You may have wondered about the debate in Congress; Who is this super conductor? What has he got to do with politics anyway? Is he or she a new Sir George Solti, or is he a successor to the late Arthur Fiedler? The ongoing conflict your representatives are debating is also puzzling. Is this musical genius a superb conflict provoker? He may be that, but to call him a super collider is too much. The fact is, that the words `superconductor' and ‘supercollider' are not misspellings. Physicists coined each pair of words together to give them new meaning with questionable merit. The cost to build a `Superconductor Supercollider' is estimated to be several Billion Dollars. The grammar and the cost may concern you, but the huge expense of this project beside the deficit is what concerns Congress. If you want to put your hands on a large sum of money from the taxpayers you would have to create some mystery about it, and gift-wrap your goal wondrously. Now I am going to unwrap the proposal to show you your promised gift.
Imagine a huge underground tunnel in Texas 50 miles long loaded with the marvels of modern sub-atomic physics. At the center of this tunnel is a tube running its full length, surrounded with huge vacuum pumps, refrigeration equipment, giant magnets, and nuclear particle detectors. There are also laboratories for the scientists and workshops for engineers and technicians who operate and maintain all these. On the ground you would see a massive power line pumping large amount of electrical energy into this giant laboratory.
What do they expect to gain from these experiments? They will accelerate tiny subatomic particles in the tube to reach near the speed of light, and then they collide them to crash into fragments. From these they hope to create a Grand Unification Theory (GUT) which would explain the four invisible forces of nature which seem to act over empty space; gravity, electro- magnetic force, the strong and the weak nuclear forces.
To create this gigantic event the apparatus needs lots of electrical energy and powerful electro-magnets. This can be achieved near 'bsolute Temperature' by specially fabricated super cooled wires of the magnets. At -270 Centigrade, which is -454 Fahrenheit on a conventional thermometer, the electricity flows in the wire windings of the magnets without resistance, thus creating powerful magnetic forces at less significantly less energy than at normal temperature.
Why do they need the magnets? Well, when you twirl an object on a string in a room and let it go, it will fly away from you and bang into the wall. So would the subatomic particles bang into the wall of the ring shaped vacuumed tube, unless these super cooled 'superconducting' magnets would force them into their 50 miles long circle, like the string in your hands forcing the object on a circular orbit. Round and round the subatomic particles go faster and faster, speeded up by electrical energy, to come into a gigantic bang, a super collision. Now I hope you understand high energy subatomic physics; you are supposed to get a real bang for your taxes. A super cool idea, don't you think? I think tax Dollars can be more wisely spent on humanistic and greater job creating research projects then this 'super cooled' idea. It may create a 'super collision' in Congress sooner than in Texas.