LHC podcast, now with government goodness

By Phil Plait | October 13, 2008 2:02 pm

Sadly, the Large Hadron Collider is shut down for now. There was damage done during testing, and now that it’s winter they turned it off (more or less) anyway for maintenance. Electricity is very expensive in wintertime, so that’s when they schedule regular fix-uppery.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to cool stuff about the LHC! The CERN podcast has been doing interviews with different people, including not just CERN personnel, but also people who are interested in science but outside of the particle physics world. Brian Cox — physicist/rock star/sex symbol — has been doing the interviews, and the interviewees have included comedian Chris Morris (who completely eats up the physics; he is a voracious reader and is fascinated by the science), Doctor Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman, and even my own self.

The latest interview is with Ed Vaizey, a Member of Parliament. You have to listen to this interview to believe it: an actual politician who gets it, who sees the importance of the science and what the LHC is doing. It’s an amazingly refreshing viewpoint for someone in government, and I wish that this were far more common.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics, Science
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Comments (14)

  1. MF

    Chris Morris is a god!

  2. Tim G

    It’s winter now? When was autumn? I know you consider the solstice the midpoint of the season, but that is more than two months away!

  3. phunk

    It’s not winter yet, but it will be winter by the time repairs are done.

  4. IVAN3MAN

    Dr. Phil Plait:

    The latest interview is with Ed Vaizey, a Member of Parliament. You have to listen to this interview to believe it: an actual politician who gets it, who sees the importance of the science and what the LHC is doing. It’s an amazingly refreshing viewpoint for someone in government, and I wish that this were far more common.

    The problem with American politicians is their preoccupation, to the point of obsession, with the three G’s — God, guns, and gas! All that evolution/creationism ‘controversy’ rubbish is not an issue in mainstream European politics. Any British politician who publicly proclaimed his/her belief in creationism would be considered a ‘nutter’ and would not be voted into office. It’s the same in the rest of Europe, with the exception of Romania — the Kentucky state of the EU!

  5. CanadianLeigh

    While I listened to your podcast with Brian Cox, I couldn’t help but examine the photo that accompanied it. I think the LHC project needs to get a good rust paint manufacturer as a sponsor. I hope the rest of the steel is holding up better than that. My wife would rush over with a scraper and a paint brush. In fact so would I if it would get me up close to this wonderful machine.
    Great podcast by the way. I will have to listen to the others on a quieter day.

  6. feroxx

    Phil, I get a google Ad for “2012-comet.com” here on the top left – you might want to have a word with the Discover Overminds. ūüėČ

    Or is that satire? Its pretty out there, but I don’t think so.

  7. I was saddened to hear that the LHC will be shut down for the winter. But, I’m very excited about the discoveries that we’re bound to make once it is operational again. It’s worth waiting for.

  8. StevoR

    I’m feeling quite a bit more reassured by some fine links people have sent me on other LHC threads here but I’d still really like them to use this opportunity (break) to conduct an ethical review on the (we think very, very small but still highest of all possible stakes) risks posed to ..well .. our planet by the LHC.

    An ethical review carried out by qualified ethicists like most or at least many scientific experiments have to go thorough (esp. biotech. but others too I think) would be a good excercise in having another perspective and another clearance check to reassure those who still aren’t 100% convinced this LHC experiment is such a great idea…

  9. The Lord of Nibiru

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

    Now we are DEFINITELY going to burn up in the Van Allen belts.

    Damn You All To Hell LHC!!!

  10. vasanthakumar

    I am also one of them who are disappointed in shut down of LHC. In my point of view: science is entire different from politics.LHC is more important to know about universe. so, it must not stopped for simple reasons. they can incorporate in Asian country’s where the effect of winter is less and cost of electricity is low.

  11. My-Name-is-Kenneth

    I am primarily bothered by the fact that the LHC folks did not bother to tell us about the fact that the facility would be shut down for most of the winter. Maybe they did somewhere, but it sure wasn’t made prominent.

    So much for modern technoloy, ay?

  12. Gary Ansorge

    StevoR S and My-Name-is-Kenneth: The point about shutting down for the winter has been spoken of many times. Electricity is a major cost during winter months in that area. Original plans were to do analyses during the winter, research during the rest of the year.

    Steve, what part of cosmic ray impacts a billion times more intense than the LHC don’t you get? If we haven’t been gobbled up by now(after 4.5 billion years) from those natural impacts, how the heck could our efforts possibly have any such effect?
    Think about it,,,

    Hey, that guy with the beard,,,he looks JUST LIKE ME,,,Funny, I don’t remember being at CERN,,,
    Darn it,,,

    GAry 7

  13. Gary Ansorge

    Aside: Steve, think about what happens when two cars collide head on at 60 mph vs one car hitting a brick wall at 60 mph. The release of kinetic energy for each car would be identical, regardless of whether it hits another car at 60 or a brick wall at 60. In both circumstances the car goes “crunch”,,,

    The same holds true for protons,,,

    GAry 7

  14. Andy Cooke

    Ed Vaizey isn’t actually in Government (the Conservatives are in Opposition), although he is definitely an up-and-coming MP. To be fair, his chances of being in Government after the 2010 election are pretty good.
    As an aside, he was my local MP a year or so ago. I contacted him by email about a housing matter – he replied with an acknowledgement within 20 minutes of me sending it and followed it up by buttonholing the relevant Government minister on my behalf (all sorted out to my satisfaction). I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since.

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