LHC Experiment – Indian perspective

LHC - Under construction

The LHC or the Big Bang experiment in Geneva has invoked a whole spectrum of reactions in India.

The most painful news in this context was the suicide committed by a young girl who got extremely stressed by the media hoax that 10th September would be the end of the world. While, it is possible to question the circumstances and blame the poor girl for this immature act, I would put the blame fully on the false and baseless propaganda created by the media to sensationalise the issue. Star News particularly crossed all limits and kept beaming the hoax in the most shameless manner. They would say that they also denied this rumour and even went to the extent of guaranteeing their viewers that this rumour was baseless. The question is that when a prominent TV Channel broadcasts such a rumour in the most sensational way, the negative part of the news affects the vulnerable masses very easily and they don’t care about any denials.

While this poor girl took the extreme step of choosing to end her life, there were millions of others who took the warning equally seriously and took to prayers and fasting to save the world from being annihilated by the tiny black holes supposed to be produced by the LHC experiment. It is a sad reflection of the gullibility and vulnerability of the Indian masses. Unfortunately, religion plays a major part in this attitude.

The brighter side is the significant contribution being made by Indian scientists including those of Indian origin. Out of the total approximately 9000 scientists involved in this experiment, about 2000 fall in this category. In addition to this, some of the critical components of the LHC were manufactured in India.

Satyendra Nath Bose. Physicist from India 1925's.

Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose (1925)

One of the most important goals of the LHC experiment is to prove (or disprove) the existence of Higgs bosons which are also called the God particles. What many of us are not aware of is that noted Indian scientist Dr. Satyndra Nath Bose had made a very significant contribution in developing the theory of “Higgs bosons” and the “boson” part of the name is derived from “Bose”.

In 1924, Bose sent a paper to Einstein describing a statistical model that eventually led to the discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensate phenomenon. The paper laid the basis for describing one of the two categories of the elementary particles that make up an atom – one was boson, and the other came to be known as fermion, after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi.

According to Bose’s grandson Falguni Sarkar, six other physicists have won the Nobel for work in the area of Bose statistics. However, 34 years after his death, the Nobel continues to elude Satyendra Nath Bose himself.

Sharon Ann Holgate, a British science writer and broadcaster who made an acclaimed radio documentary on Bose for the BBC some years ago, said she had no doubt the Indian deserved a Nobel. “I certainly do think he deserved the Nobel. When I was researching my documentary I was outraged that this man was so brilliant, yet so overlooked, perhaps because of institutionalised racism. No one gave a damn because he was an Indian,” she told IANS.

This attitude is not very surprising considering that in spite of being nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize; Mahatma Gandhi never got the prize. Recently, the Nobel Prize committee has publicly admitted its mistake in not awarding this prize to Mahatma Gandhi. Those interested may visit the official website of Nobel (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/articles/gandhi/) for details.

Incidentally, Dr. Perter Higgs is a very strong contender for the Noble particularly if the the LHC experiment validates the exisitance of the “Higgs bosons”.

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