Price of knowledge

Is it just me, am I being thick, short-sighted, naive or what? The article ‘Bottling the big bang’ to me at least, contained very little enlightenment.


Is it just me, am I being thick, short-sighted, naive or what? The article ‘Bottling the big bang’ (Cover feature, 19 May) to me at least, contained very little enlightenment.

Paragraph after paragraph described in a variety of different ways that particle A was to be smashed into particle B with the consequence that something might be learned from this wonderful feat of engineering.

For those few mortals blessed with the amazing intelligence of Stephen Hawking, there will no doubt be much information to disseminate. Those of us with a mere modicum of average nous can only wonder, ‘What the dickens is this all about?’

From an engineering perspective, the construction of this massive device is an incredible feat bordering on being a ‘wonder of the world’.

My simple logic, however, says that if we find the answer to life, the universe and everything, then the human race will be no better off than getting the answer 42.

At a consumption of 230MW, CERN’s LHC makes my low-energy light bulb conversion pale into insignificance. What price knowledge, I ask?

I can just about hack the spin-off benefits of space exploration. Smashing particles together, I don’t think so. Mr Hawking’s debilitating motor neurone disease would be a more deserving cause of expenditure of this magnitude.

Anthony Oliver

Norwich