Could the Large Hadron Collider really act as telephone for talking to the past?


Spurs-a-jingle boffins in America say that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), most puissant matter-rending machine ever assembled by humanity, may also turn out to be the first time machine ever built. According to the physicists’ calculations, instruments at the mighty particle-smasher may soon detect signs of “singlets” which it has not yet generated, sent back from their creation in the future.

“Our theory is a long shot,” admits physics prof Tom Weiler, “but it doesn’t violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints.”

According to calculations by Weiler and his colleague Chui Man Ho, if the LHC manages to generate the long-theorised but never actually seen Higgs Boson (aka “the god particle” – confirmation of its existence was a major reason for the Collider’s construction) it should also create another mysterious particle dubbed the “Higgs singlet”*. These singlets, according to Weiler and Ho, might be able to move in a fifth dimension transverse to our existing four-dimensional continuum – thus they could pop out of our universe and subsequently re-enter it elsewhere in time.

This thinking relies on the idea that the 4-D continuum we can perceive exists within a 10- or 11-dimensional universe, rather as a flat two-dimensional membrane could float suspended in normal three-d space. Versions of the so-called “M-theory” in physics hold that this is the case, but that almost all kinds of forces, waves, particles etc are stuck to the four-dimensional membrane, aka the “brane” for short.

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Thursday, March 17th, 2011 Large Hadron Collider, LHC