Approaching the Light
This is an exciting time to be a particle physicist.
Especially if you are a particle physicist who believes in God...
By John Halford
(Ed. Note – Memphis GCI members remember the Baker family who passed through here in the late 1970s. Dr. Keith Baker, particle physicist at Yale University, was a contact for our fondly remembered pastor/journalist John Halford as he researched the implications for Science and Religion of the Hadron Super-Collider in Europe a few years ago.)
This is an exciting time to be a particle physicist. Especially if you are a particle physicist who believes in God, because we appear to be on the verge of exciting new discoveries that could force us to rethink how we look at the natural world.
Recently I visited the CERN Super Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, as the guest of Dr. Keith Baker – a particle physicist who is also a committed Christian. Keith is a Yale Professor who has also been involved with the cutting-edge experiments now being conducted using this amazing technological marvel carved into the rock beneath France and Switzerland.
We watched the operators in the control room, which reminded me of Mission Control for a space mission. Which, of course it is. Except that these men and women are supervising a journey into inner space. The actual experiment is going on deep in the ground under our feet in a circular tunnel 17 miles in circumference. Down there, protons (one of the smallest particles of matter) are accelerated to nearly the speed of light, and then redirected to smash into each other.
I have a vague understanding of what happens when these particles collide, but I think it would be better to leave the explanation to someone who really knows what he is talking about. So we have included an interview with Keith Baker in this issue (see page 5). By the way, donít feel bad if you donít fully understand it. It seems that no one does. I take comfort from the words of the Nobel Prize-winning pioneer of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, who admitted, ďIf you are not completely confused by quantum mechanics, you do not understand it.Ē