Nov 24, 2009

Bill Bryson's Notes From a Large Hadron Collider

I have been obsessed with Bill Bryson's books for the last several months, so occasionally I'll enter his name into the Google News search engine and see what's happening with the country's favorite travelogue writer from across the pond-slash-Iowa. Today I found the following morsel of writing.

From The Times Online:

In the event that it fell to you to identify the most exciting place on the planet, the likelihood is small, I imagine, that you would pack a bag and travel at once to Switzerland. Still less, I dare say, would you turn your back on Geneva and head out past its western suburbs and into the pleasant but uneventful countryside beyond. There, in a broad valley shared with France, stands a collection of buildings that look like the leftovers from a 1960s Festival of Bad Design.

This is it. You have found it. This is CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Over the next few days the people who run the place will cautiously restart the immensely large machine (almost 27 kilometres around) known as the Large Hadron Collider and begin swooshing particles around it in a way that will, when it is fully humming, recreate conditions as they were in the Universe one millionth of a millionth of a second after the beginning of the big bang.

Read the entire article here.

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