Wednesday, 29 September 2010

God and the Large Hadron Collider

It has been an eventful time for our Sixty Symbols project.

Everything started when I invited viewers to submit their own questions.

We received hundreds in just a few days.

I then posed a selection to our team and made them into a series of videos.

The first video was quite popular, dealing with things such as the speed of light and gravity.

But the second video has gone off the charts, centring on the simple question "What would happen if I put my hand in the Large Hadron Collider?"

The video has attracted a lot of attention from websites and blogs and become the most watched video on Sixty Symbols.

As the Bad Astronomy blog noted:

"I love how different scientists think of different angles on this, and come up with different answers. Clearly, they hadn’t really thought about this before, so as they realize various aspects of this the answer changes."

And as John Butterworth said in a Guardian blog:

"I love this video from the University of Nottingham where physicists try to answer tricky but valid physics questions in real time. Seeing them think, and say they 'don't know' sometimes, gives a better feel for research (and teaching) than a bevy of meticulously prepared seminars."

The third video deals with the vexed question of "Do you believe in God?" which a number of viewers wanted me to ask.

Religion is always an electric fence on YouTube - touch it at your peril!

To the credit of the scientists, they were honest and gave an answer.

As expected the video has created a long and tangled debate on the YouTube comment section.

But it is mainly people debating each other - I think they have appreciated the scientists' honesty.

And I think it has been fun to let the viewers decide what they want to ask - and it has been great seeing the experts tackle everything, no mater how big or small.

It really shows they are not only clever - but a down-to-earth and open bunch of people.

Whether you agree with them or not, what a great advertisement for their profession!?


  1. They indeed humanize science. Not that my professors were half-bad, but these characters seem to be not only respectable researchers but great teachers as well.

  2. There's lots of talk regarding Series LLCs. Increasing numbers of people are asking yourself if they're a good idea. The brief answer is they aren't -- they have not been examined, giving all of them limited applications when they have any whatsoever.