Philosophers, physicists and detecting the unknown.

This week we finally started the residency at CERN. We had a very interesting opening introduction by Julian Calo, the coordinator of Arts@CERN. And then we had a wonderful chat with scientist Michael Doser, as well as seeing Samuel C. C. Ting having a meeting next table. 😉 A visit to the amazing magnet factor in CERN, and wrap up the day by exploring the library.

這週總算開始CERN的駐村計畫。一開始先由Arts@CERN計畫協調人Julian Carlo擔任保母,介紹CERN的特色,然後與研究反物質的科學家Michael Doser吃午餐。在吃午餐的時候還遇到了在隔壁桌開會的課本級人物丁肇中,最後在圖書館亂槍打鳥式的尋找視覺元素。

0T6A6199 Circular data from the library in the Yearly Review of Particle Physics

Wenchi and Pei in ATLAS

The ideas hits me today was that someone (can’t remember it was Julian or Michael Doser ) mentioned that CERN is trying to detect the unknown. Which on the other hand there is an important notion that in the structure of science, you can only test of the things we already know how to detect. Michael Doser’s reply is that scientists will try their best to accommodates different speculation when they are designing the experiment and the equipment. There will be a lot of discussions between the scientists and engineers to decide which ones to test and build, that as a result would allow a certain degree of freedom. Another note is that to prove something is true, the scientists will also have to test the experiments (to look at the theory) from all possible different angles until they have a definite answer that the thing is true. The analogy used is ‘using a torch to observe an issue from all possible angles to see the whole.’ This also reminds me of the often mentioned future/possible future cone in the field of foresight. (See Nesta) Where fiction and speculation of possible future scenarios are a way for foreseeing the upcoming. Just sort of a mind teaser. It is also very interesting that more than one scientists said that they are aim for disproving themselves. If they can prove themselves that their speculation is wrong, then it is awesome. Also that scientists never ‘trust’ on others, but rely on the team to do the experiments. And that instead of trusting, they are all actively checking if others’ works are creditable. Which this ‘style’ builds up a working science society. (This is my re-interpretation, but really how awesome is that, completely the opposite of Art when it comes to teamwork :p).

而這天讓人不斷反芻的關鍵點在忘了是誰提到CERN的任務就是搜尋未知的事物。但是我們也都知道科學的結構就是只能偵測與試驗預期到的結果,否則我們不會有對的感測器去偵測。而Michael Doser對於這件事情的回應是,科學家必須盡可能的相互對話並且找出各種不同的理論來設計出一個實驗可以允許許多可能性。另外一件事則是科學家必須用各種可能的角度去實驗一件「事物」(可能是真理),就好像拿著手電筒從不同的角度去照這個事物,直到可以看到所有面向並且證明這個事物的確存在,才能確切地宣佈說它存在。這跟未來學中常提到對於「可能的未來」是一個探照燈結構的形式(見Nesta網站)有種結構上的異曲同工之妙。此外也不止一次聽到科學家們說他們的目的就是證明自己的錯誤,因為證明自己是錯的代表有更多讓人興奮的可能性。而科學家們也絕不「信任」他人,而是仰賴他人的研究結果讓CERN這樣巨大而精確的實驗成為可能。他們必須隨時檢查對方的研究是否是可靠的,而這樣的態度才能建構出能運作的科學社群。(這是我聽完他們的話後的解讀~~)

Of course the lucky us also get a visit to ATLAS core, because at the moment they are upgrading the LHC for higher energy tests.


ATLAS Control Room Lift down to ATLAS Computer grids in ATLAS for filtering the data The door into the core of ATLAS Sign for gas accumulation danger and alarm ATLAS core ATLAS

And the perfectionist’s magnet factory, where they make the magnets that would be able to handle 12 Tesla of magnetic field, and which where they use the huge robot to bend the super conductor material, bake them, epoxy coat them, and handcuff them to the precision to microns.

以及完美主義者工作的巨大磁鐵工廠,正在製造可以產生12 Tesla的磁場的半導體電磁鐵,使用巨大機器人(非人型!)來彎半導體材料、烘烤、上樹脂結構保護,然後再將這些磁鐵像是手銬一般用金屬銬在原子通過的管道周圍。

Large Magnet Faculty Robot for bending the semiconductors Cross section of the tube Cross section of the tube Cross section of the tube Cross section of the tube





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