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The HST vs the LHC

  1. Oct 12, 2014 #1
    With the handing out of Nobel Prizes last week it occurred to me that the selection committee decided to go in the direction of hard-headed application of science rather than some grand theory. We can certainly calculate over time, the value of a 'hard-headed" discovery, but calculating the return on more abstruse knowledge is far more difficult. And in that vein, I was wondering whether the Hubble Space Telescope or the Large Hadron Collider had provided mankind with a greater return on investment.
     
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  3. Oct 12, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Isn't that like asking who would win a fight between Superman and the Hulk?

    Also, the HST has been in orbit for around a quarter-century. The LHC hasn't reached design energy yet. How can you compare?
     
  4. Oct 13, 2014 #3

    Drakkith

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    I'm for the HST. It's been in operation for 24 years and over 9,000 papers have been written using its data.

    We'll have to wait another 2 decades or so to see how well the LHC impacts science.
     
  5. Oct 13, 2014 #4

    Chalnoth

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    I don't think there's any way to compare. You might be able to compare cost-effectiveness for one particle collider against another. But there's no way to compare high-energy physics discoveries against astronomical observations in terms of value.
     
  6. Nov 11, 2014 #5
    No, there is a way to compare. How has the LHC changed our view of the universe? Has it measured up to the LHC? What is its potential to do so?
     
  7. Nov 11, 2014 #6
    Finding the Higgs Boson seems to be the deciding factor in my humble opinion..........
     
  8. Nov 11, 2014 #7

    Chalnoth

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    Nope. No way to answer those questions.

    And no, I don't think the Higgs discovery makes that decision any more objective.
     
  9. Nov 11, 2014 #8

    Chronos

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    A head to head between the most powerful telescope and most powerful microscope. That might qualify as the ultimate apples to oranges comparison. ... "I can see the most distant stars!", said the HST. "Pffft, I can see what they are made of.", said the LHC.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  10. Nov 11, 2014 #9

    mfb

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    Yes I think so ;).

    The LHC certainly changed my view of the universe, but that is not surprising if you work for it.
    It is not just the Higgs boson:
    There were multiple good arguments why the LHC should/could see supersymmetric particles. No result so far, which opens many new questions.
    Before the LHC, particle physics experiments at accelerators formed two groups: proton/(anti)proton collisions to discover new things with a lot of other particles flying around from collisions, and electron/positron collisions to study those discovered things in detail in a clean environment. The LHC experiments can do both at the same time - in several measurements, they are more precise than existing electron/positron colliders already.

    The LHC collected about 1% of the total collisions foreseen over the full lifetime (including upgrades) so far. 99% are still to come! And those 99% will be with a higher energy so they are much more effective.
     
  11. Nov 11, 2014 #10

    phinds

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    Yeah, I'd agree w/ that. I think they also done interesting work on antimatter.
     
  12. Nov 11, 2014 #11

    dlgoff

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    Looking at it from the design/engineering standpoint, IMO the http://www.atlas.ch/photos/lhc.html [Broken] would win hands down.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  13. Nov 11, 2014 #12



    Thoughtful reply. But how has it changed your view. The Hubble cost about 2 billion to build and maintain. The Collider about four times that. But the Hubble has been a window on the universe, settling scores of problems, showing us the extent of the universe. It has focused on predicted and unpredicted events. It has confirmed that the universe is expanding, shown us how new stars are born. The LHC has proved the existence of the Higgs Boson. But what else does it promise to do? The United States started to build a collider then thought better of it. Maybe it was right. But I am interested in your thoughts, as you work there.
     
  14. Nov 12, 2014 #13

    mfb

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    So did the LHC, and will continue to do.
    The pictures just do not look as nice as the photos Hubble can make.
    Finding the fundamental building blocks of the universe, or confirming we found all within the range of the LHC. The experiments have a chance to find dark matter, supersymmetry or particles from various other theories - we cannot predict their discovery simply because we do not know if those particles exist.
    That was mainly mismanagement that lead to a cost explosion. And the LHC was a project with similar goals, focusing on one big collider was not a bad idea. Now many US scientists work for LHC experiments.
     
  15. Nov 12, 2014 #14
    There is some question about whether it was the Higgs boson that was discovered - see http://phys.org/news/2014-11-wasnt-higgs-particle.html
     
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