Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Philosophy Wire: Time travel, CERN, paradoxes, Higgs

RIR-100128Philosophy Note by Spiros Kakos [2012-03-21]:

A pair of distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider at CERN, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, put this idea forward in a series of papers with titles like “Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal” and “Search for Future Influence From LHC”, posted on the physics Web site in the last year and a half.

Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Ninomiya started laying out their case for doom in the spring of 2008. It was later that fall, of course, after the CERN collider was turned on, that a connection between two magnets vaporized, shutting down the collider for more than a year.

Dr. Nielsen called that “a funny thing that could make us to believe in the theory of ours”.

As Niels Bohr said, "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough".




► See the article Harmonia Philosophica for a more in depth analysis of how what seems “illogical” can sometimes be more… “logical”.

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