Did anybody catch yesterday’s Google logo? It was the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Googlefied. Coincidentally, one of the top ten headlines on my RSS feed that day was ‘Big Bang’ Experiment starts well, so I immediately detected a connection. I have always put an interest in CERN (which stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or European Council for Nuclear Research) ever since I read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons.
Okay I must admit. I’m a mainstream pop-culture junkie. That book gave birth to a period in my life where I had a historical thriller/mystery novel addiction. I would get my stash at the bookstore on a weekly basis and feel restless when I read any other kind of genre. And I was a whore, I even did the non-bestsellers. For some reason though, that addiction drastically subsided after The Da Vinci Code, the movie. If you’ve seen the movie I’m sure you understand.
Well, basically the Large Hadron Collider is a gigantic, expensive machine that sits deep underground beneath the Swiss-French border and spans across a 27km-long tunnel. It was designed to smash protons together with cataclysmic force, which will recreate the conditions a few moments after the ‘Big Bang’, which hopefully will answer fundamental questions in physics linked to the confirmation of the existence of the much-speculated ‘God Particle’, which is a theoretical explanation for the origin of mass in the Universe, the one speck of energy that fathers (or mothers) us all. The primeval atom. The cosmic egg.
Now, CERN is the sugar daddy to this enormous and over budgeted project. It is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. The organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2600 full-time employees, as well as some 7931 scientists and engineers (representing 500 universities and 80 nationalities).
It also houses the Large Hadron Collider which just 2 days ago has been successfully started and will hopefully give us answers to the age old riddle, “Why are we here?”
The ‘Big Bang’ theory is generally accepted by religion as the scientific explanation of the origin of the Universe, seeing as how the man who gave birth to the theory was a Roman-Catholic priest who went by the name Georges Lemaître. There are even passages in the Al-Quran and Tao Te Ching that tells about the creation of matter in a way that fits (metaphorically) with the ‘Big Bang’ theory.
Personally, I’ve never classified science and religion as two polar opposites. I’ve always thought they moved parallel to each other, complementing yet rebuking each other at the same time and both trying to reach the same destination, the same clear illumination of truth, the same riddle to be answered. I also believe that religion can be scientifically explained and science can support faith. I believe they have a rare symbiotic mutualism that helps to maintain the Universal balance. Sort of like an old married couple.
When science teaches me about things like the creation of the Universe, or atomic particles, or dimensions of space in light years, it makes me feel so very minuscule. This realization of modesty is what fuels my respect and belief in religion. I feel so small yet so big at the same time. I am nothing and everything. This feeling of awe and insignificance is what I call faith.
The belief that far beyond the big blue circus tent we’re under, there’s still a little sumthin’-sumthin’ that will remain an infinite mystery, which no amount of science or faith can solve, gives me a calming feeling. The conviction that I, as a human being, will never know everything puts me in a state of serenity. The unknown erases my doubts and rationalizes my fears. Maybe it has a little to do with pure ignorance but not knowing gives me an inexplicable power and the drive to live.
I haven’t discovered a conclusive scientific explanation for that feeling yet, but I will.
Mind over matter. Or anti-matter, in this case.