Big Questions about Little Things

Science Friday is getting in depth today with a lively discussion on the some of the littlest things in our universe.  The first part of today’s segment discussed the benefits of bacteria (pass the yogurt, please) with researcher and writer Gerald Callahan, the author of Infection: The Uninvited Universe.  From there things got even smaller as physics researchers spoke about looking to the smallest of particles to try to answer some big questions about the universe.  CERNhopes to prove the universe-forming String Theory using its newest piece of technology, the Large Hadron Collier (read more about the LHC here).

The idea is that with the LHC accelerator, researchers may observe the scattering of W bosons, an elementary particle that is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature and required in the proposed testing of the current string theory. CERN is confident that if the particles theorized exist, then the LHC can find them.  But what happens if they don’t? Slashdot picks up a lot of the discussion, while CERN’s newsletter has an explination of the string theory. Finally, Physorg.com has a good article explaining how to test the string theory.  None of it’s really a light read, but it’s a big question. 

Any local experts care to weigh in on the string-theory debate?

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