The Large Hadron Collider Proves Why We Need More Cox
Many people breathed a sigh of relief last week when the Large Hadron Collider smashed some protons together and the planet failed to blow up. But, as I observed at the time, if the researchers at Cern were going to blow up anything it should probably be a photograph of TV scientist, Professor Brian Cox, with the top button of his Wranglers undone.
Here at the Institute for Studies, there are some rather blinkered colleagues who think Professor Cox has sold out and will probably end up wiping Switzerland off the face of the planet by accident because his playful fringe has gone into his eye. But they are clearly autistic and fail to recognise the inescapable scientific lure of the former D:Ream keyboardist.
There are many misconceptions about what Professor Cox does all day at the Large Hadron Collider. But to understand it, you simply need to think about the Tom Cruise film, Top Gun.
Let’s recall the scene in which Tom and his colleagues go head to head in an intense game of beach volleyball. The ball was going so fast that Tom had to bandage his hand and everyone but Goose, the bungling nincompoop, had to remove their tops. Now let’s imagine the ball had been going even faster – say at almost the speed of light – and it had smashed into another ball shaped object that was flying around the court, say Goose’s face.
Tom would never have been wracked with guilt about losing Goose in an ejection manoeuvre and would therefore not have turned to that humourless lesbian for comfort. Instead, one of the officials from the base (perhaps one that looks like Brian) could have taken a photo of the exact moment the ball impacted on Goose’s melon head and we could have learned about conditions immediately after the Big Bang. And that’s something that would really take your breath away.
So while people can complain about Nasa sending space ships to Mars, let us remember that if it was not for Professor Cox, everyone over the age of 30 would still be flouncing around, telling guests at their idiotic dinner parties that Pluto is the ninth planet and that this is affecting them emotionally because they are a Scorpio. The LHC is the best thing to come out of Switzerland since Roman Polanski and I for one wake up every morning grateful that it is Professor Cox with his hand on the knob.
And is it too much to claim that, in these straightened times with research grants under threat, we need Brian to ride to our rescue on the Horse of Science, like a young Sean
Bean, except he will say things like ‘neutrino’ and ‘isotope’ instead of spouting some
nonsense about Morrison’s.
Dr Julian Cook is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Studies