“Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?”

As I said at the end of last year – It’s still the experiment most likely to find more than a pair of WIMPy socks. If they’re really there… But it might take a little longer than expected. Belfast-born director of accelerators at Cern, Steve Myers, has told the BBC that the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, will only be run at half-maximum power for 18 to 24 months before being switched off for a year to carry out improvements to the 27km tunnel – at which point maximum power collisions will be attempted for the first time. Although the CERN bulletin doesn’t appear to have heard the news, whilst the Director General portrays it as standard procedure. And if you missed it last night, you can catch another wondrous Horizon on the iPlayer – “Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?” – on the ‘fixes’ to the standard cosmological model required to match the observable universe. Including the inflationary hypothesus, ‘dark’ matter, ‘dark’ energy, and, possibly, ‘dark’ flow.From the BBC report

Dr Myers said: “It’s something that, with a lot more resources and with a lot more manpower and quality control, possibly could have been avoided but I have difficulty in thinking that this is something that was a design error.”

He said: “The standard phrase is that the LHC is its own prototype. We are pushing technologies towards their limits.”

“You don’t hear about the thousands or hundreds of thousands of other areas that have gone incredibly well.

“With a machine like the LHC, you only build one and you only build it once.”

And from Cern’s Director General, Rolf Heuer.

Two years of continuous running is a tall order both for the LHC operators and the experiments, but it will be well worth the effort. By abandoning CERN’s traditional annual operational cycle we’re increasing the overall running time and discovery potential over the next three years. This run will be followed by preparations for 14 TeV collisions in a single shutdown and another major advance into new territory as great as the one we are on the threshold of achieving.

And, on the search for ‘dark’ matter, I can’t resist linking the Guardian’s interview with Brian Cox

G: Historically, we’ve often thought we’re getting close to cracking the secrets of the universe. Are we?

Brian Cox: I honestly think the wheels are coming off our picture of the way the universe works at the moment. We don’t know what 96% of the universe is made of – that tells us that we don’t understand something fundamental. It reminds me of the start of the 20th century when quantum mechanics and relativity were about to appear.

G: We wouldn’t expect a dog to understand the mysteries of the universe, so why should we imagine that we can?

Brian Cox: It’s an open question, whether it’s too complicated. All you can do is point back to history to note that we’ve been successful on this reductionist journey up to now. But there’s no reason…

G: Have you ever believed in God?

Brian Cox: No! I was sent to Sunday school for a few weeks but I didn’t like getting up on Sunday mornings. But some of my friends are religious. I don’t have a strong view on religion, other than illogical religion. Young earth creationism, for example: bollocks.


  • IRIA

    I read a recent report that astronauts have petitioned NASA to allow them to smoke inside the space shuttle rather than having to go outside to light up.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The whole point about Life is that sooner or later we discover that everything we were ever taught or learned turns out to be complete and utter rubbish.
    Whether its Religion, Politics, Economics, or a touching belief in Football being fair or that Olympic champions are drug free…..we eventually find out the Truth.

    Why should Science be any different?
    Not that I ever believed in that nonsense anyway.

  • Henry94


    The difference with science (done properly) is that nobody gets upset.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    When I mention Science, Mr Baker gets very upset indeed.

  • joeCanuck


    I thought it was the complete opposite. When Pete writes a science blog, you get very upset.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    As Dr Phil said on the Oprah show.
    Or maybe Oprah said on the Dr Phil show
    “eventually we outlive our fears”
    I am never upset about anything. Except possibly vetinary fees.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Good Horizon programme on BBC2 last Wednesday about “Dark Flow”, “Dark Matter” , The Big Bang, Universe Inflation, etc….Theories say that Dark Matter is an invisible stuff that suspends Matter etc…

    greagoir o frainclin

  • Pete Baker

    Yes, Gragoir.

    It’s linked in the original post.

    And that ‘theory’ is one of the ‘fixes’ mentioned.

  • Greenflag

    Fitzer ,

    ‘the whole point about Life is that sooner or later we discover that everything we were ever taught or learned turns out to be complete and utter rubbish.’

    Have to disagree . Some things yes like the number of angels on the head of a pin, the universe resting on the back of a turtle – the infallibility of popes, the moral rectitude of the banking and insurance and medical and legal professions and the immorality of prostitutes , pimps , burglars and criminals .

    What I’ve learned these past few years is that society has a lot more to fear from the bankers , popes and corporate /economic experts than it ever had from criminals and the like 🙁

    I’m surprised that some enterprising insurance company or like minded gouger concern has not developed a policy which would protect individuals from being gouged by banks, insurance companies and members of the medical and legal professions on the make ?

    Dark matter indeed 😉

  • [quote]“Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?”[/quote]

    Pete, If any of it is wrong, is all of it wrong for the “facts” that exist are all built upon each other to offer corroborating support?