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High-energy experimentation

One of the prestige factors that physicists have on us sociologists is their greater propensity build and then play with gigantic machinery. Sean at Preposterous Universe recently visited CERN and has some nice photos of two massive physics machines: The 10,000-ton ATLAS and CMS. In his discussion he includes some explanation of why particle accellerators have to be so massive and how quantum mechanics at the theoretical level informs the physical building of these big machines. It’s neat to see such a tight connnection between theory and research design.