ALCHEMY THAT MAKES YOU GO “HMMM…”: GOLD (AND OTHER ...~hehe Oops ?
Mr. M.D. spotted this one, and it's a "fun" one... maybe. During "routine maintenance" at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the lead shielding around the circular track was lifted to reveal a yellow substance which at first was thought by the maintenance crews to be yellow paint. But alas, upon examination, the yellow substance proved to be a thin coating of gold, with a little platinum and yttrium thrown in for good measure:
Routine maintenance discovers an estimated 4 tonnes of gold inside the Large Hadron Collider – Scientists left “perplexed”
Now, assuming this story to be true, there's something here that perplexes me, and also, something here that "rings a Bell", so to speak. The perplexing part is this:
LHC project head Dr Avril Blageur announced to her team this morning that a “10-micron (0.01mm) hazing of gold, platinum, scandium and yttrium has been found around the outermost protective barrier” adding “we are perplexed as to how this hazing has occurred and are currently establishing a timeframe for it’s deposit… by investigating past maintenance records for these structural elements”The internal email continued “Maintenance teams were conducting a final sweep of the four particle detectors – ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb following the system failure… during the SUSY operation. As part of the sweep they lifted elements of the protective extra-dermal lead blanket and on discovering the golden coating, immediately alerted senior staff.”
Now, what perplexes me is that the scientists are perplexed, and it's the cause of that perplexion that has me perplexed: Why are they perplexed? We're not told. And all of those considerations are the sources of my perplexion at their perplexion. Now, I'm obviously no quantum chemist, but it seems to my hack-from-South Dakota mind that if you're whirling protons and heavy ions around a circular track at the speed of light, that a little of the resulting deritus from the collisions at least, will bombard the lead liner and cause elemental transmutations. That doesn't perplex me and presumably shouldn't perplex the scientists, unless they're suspecting that this result occurred from unknown processes, say, something "totally weird" like direct quark to nucleus reactions. (See? I've only started and I'm already out on the end of the twig!) Which brings me to my next level of perplexion.
I saved my Post Toastie boxtops dutifully, and sent off my $1.50 and 10 box tops to Secret Blueprints Revealed to get my personal copies of the blueprints of the LHC and of those neat and nifty detectors and their technologies, but they still haven't arrived, and CERN is not returning my phone calls ever since the first one when they told me they do not handle bullion accounts and they became downright snooty when I asked for the Cryptochemistry and Alchemy Department, so I'm going on pure hyper-dimensional guesswork. Feel free to play the Looney Tunes theme song here, because this probably is looney tunes.
Anyway, the thought occurred to me that these super-cooled magnets around the LHC are putting off some pretty strong magnetic fields, strong enough, in fact, to repel those whirling protons and heavy ions and keep them whirling around the collider to begin with, so what the heck is "escaping" and bombarding the lead liner and turning it into gold and platinum and other stuff? Neutrally charged sub-particles? Or to put this point more bluntly: is the source of the perplexion of the scientists precisely the fact that anything is escaping at all and causing these reactions? After all, the article implies that this "gold sheet" is not simply located at the point of the Collisions, where presumably all sorts of stuff goes flying in all directions (that after all, is the point of the collisions, to get stuff flying in all directions, and to see if any of the pieces of the stuff resembles what the standard model says it should). No, the impression is given that this gold sheet is found at points where the collisions are not occurring, and thus is being found at the point where the magnetic fields are strongest in the rotation circuit of the collider. (We're on the tip of the twig now...keep that Looney Tunes theme song cued up.)
Which brings me to my nuttiest and weirdest speculation of them all: what is the phenomenon is not being caused by "conventional" particle bombardment (even my weird proposal above) and nuclear transformation at all? What if these reactions are being generated directly by the (counter-)rotating magnetic fields themselves in a kind of magnetic torsion that reconfigures the sub-particle (quark) composition of the lead liner's nuclei?
(Play Looney Tunes theme song now, for I've fallen completely off the twig.)
Now, I cannot help but note that strange article by Dr. Walther Gerlach that appeared in the 1926 Frankfurter Allgemeinezeitung that I referred to in The SS Brotherhood of the Bell, wherein German scientists were sitting around one day with nothing to do, so someone said "Hey, lets bombard mercury plasma with gobs of direct current electricity and see what happens," and someone else said "Was fur eine echte Spass!" (roughly, "that sounds like fun!"), and so they did. Lo and behold they discovered minute traces of gold had resulted in the process, Siemens promptly took out a patent on it, someone in Japan reperformed the experiment with the same result, Gerlach called it "alchemy" in his article, and urged that it be "studied further" (a typical muted call for government money to fund the research). What's interesting here is that Gerlach, as quantum mechanics was just getting started, proposed no model for what was occurring, and indeed, it's the absence of the attempt to do so that raises the question of what he might have been thinking, since it was still over a decade from the discovery of nuclear transmutations by Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn. Perhaps the phenomena are related.
Ok... I'll shut up now.
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