LHC first beam moment!

(Update: The LHC beam came full circle at last!)

The LHC first beam came and went. The LHC experiment itself is active right now, with about 3/8th of the ring active and 60,000 particles observed in one shot. Of course, it is set to increase to the full capacity eventually.

I am very proud to say that I have participated in the biggest scientific experiment ever undertaken by humanity no matter how indirect the method. Those of you out there who have not participated yet style yourselves supporters of science should hang your head in shame… Just kidding. Though you should really feel disappointed.

The main goals of the LHC experiment is put succinctly by Michael Sean Wright at his blog (which I happened to catch by chance).

Why did Matter triumph over Anti-Matter?
Why do particles have mass?
What is the nature Dark Matter?
What was the state of mass in the moments right after the Big Bang?

These are some of the questions entire cabals of scientists lose sleep over in their ceaseless pondering and amazement at the face of the universe in front of us. I am exhilarated to say the least. What will this experiment (the LHC experiment is, of course, a long term experiment. It is not about singular results obtainable over an experiment or two) teach us about the universe? What system of the world? I would have to be dead on the inside if such questions did not get my heart running!

McCain and Obama will be gone and done away with sooner or later. LHC experiments will remain with us so long as the human civilization thrives, perhaps changing the fundamental nature of how humanity sees the universe around themselves.

Here are some resources in case you are still interested in a bit of LHC first-beam catch up.

http://blogs.uslhc.us/?p=346

U.S. LHC blog.

http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/09/09/live-blogging-the-lhc-startup/

LHC live blogging.

http://webcast.cern.ch/index.html

LHC webcast service (severely congested at the time of the first beam event. I had to switch to BBC livecast)

Sketch-Creativity and origin of creativity

I’ve been listening to Amy Tan’s talk on TED titled ‘Where does Creativity Hide?’

Interesting stuff. I didn’t have enough time to mull over it properly yet, but listening to her gave me a few thoughts on the issue of the origin of creativity, an issue I am very passionate about.

It is relatively simple matter to simulate the process of creativity, I think. Plenty of mathematical constructs and randomly generated ‘events’ linked together has the resemblance of pure creative output, and despite some number of conflicts and arguments for and against such ‘engines of creation’, I do believe that what we do might in essence be not so much different from the simulated behaviors of such random patterns and mechanization.

However, the real problem, at least for me, lies in the issue of the origin of creativity rather than the process of it. Human beings are not machines or algorithms specifically designed to be creative. In fact, human beings as molecular machines might not have been built for anything (and everything, in that sense), for evolution tend to be quite blind in such matters of directionality in nature (there are theories and viewpoints arguing otherwise). I will not even look at the possibility that the wellspring of creativity emerges from some spiritual source, instead approaching the problem from purely materialistic and reproducible viewpoint.

As physio-chemical complex dissipative systems, what drives human beings to create and innovate throughout their duration of activity, i.e. life? What kind of mechanism underlies this strange anomaly emerging from entangled soups contained within chunks of chemicals? Even more, how would we be able to replicate such behavior using less than usual components? This, ladies and gentlemen, is the question of the ages, the true question toward the question of creativity.

This, I believe, is the true crossroad between the arts and the sceinces, the significance of artificial life in science, society, industries, and the zenith where the artificial intelligence becomes simple intelligence.

More to follow.

Without borders

I happened to stumble upon this article about a program called scientists without borders. It’s basically a web 2.0 project much like jove, but with focus on interactivity and network building for scientist around the world with goal of negating some of the more significant effects of brain drain across the globe rather than sharing physical data or research protocols. Wonderful stuff, somewhat of expected and perhaps even redundant with all the ‘community’ sites aimed at various strata of the world popping up all over the place, but still it’s nice to see that someone in this world noticed the negative effects of professional brain drain and is attempting to do something about it (I’m looking at you, United Nations). Perhaps this program can also work in favor of certain people of professional learning scraping dishes in remoter corners of the globe simply due to the problems of accessibility, rather than lack of talent or diligence. Such waste of men/womenpower always bothered me.

The problem of brain drain is a serious issue. It had been as long as anyone can remember. However, just like the field of synthetic biology which, despite being of opensource nature (reflecting the roots of the movement based on informations technology), can’t establish itself without significant industrial presence of genome synthesizing and computerization facilities, science utilizing web 2.0 concept itself won’t work well without some sort of physical international distribution network that would make it possible for remoter corners of the globe to have access to the more sophisticated laboratories and equipments available in richer nations.

Application of the web 2.0 and related human network philosophy (…engineering?) ethos is only beginning, of course. What we see right now will not even remotely be close to what we will see in the future, and all I can say at the moment regarding the matter are mere speculations. However, am I too far gone in predicting that in the future the science community might be able to reap the benefits of an international laboratory that does the lab work ‘contracted’ from scientists around the globe regardless of nationality and location?