Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And life goes on...

If some scientists are to be believed, I should not have been alive to write this blog nor should you be, to read this! The world was supposed to end this very day according to some scientists; September 10, 2008.

For the benefit of the late comers, a group of scientists in Europe have built a “Large Hadron Collider” (LHC) which was scheduled to be fired today. A beam of particles was to be circulated through this LHC which is housed in a 27 kms long underground tunnel. I first read about the protests from some scientists regarding this experiment before I actually read about this experiment. It’s like the driver realizing that the breaks of the car have failed after the accident! Per my understanding, as a part of the experiment, proton beams travelling in opposite directions at the speed of light are made to collide against each other. And this, as per the scientists conducting the experiment, will create the exact conditions after the Big-Bang (theory which explains the birth of our universe). The protests to this experiment was that it might create a huge black hole and will ultimately destroy the earth. (end of the world theory)

As I understand everything here we are talking about is just a theory. Universe was created after Big Bang, is a theory; so are the, 2 protons colliding at high speed to explain “mass”. Amidst all these theories is yet another theory of the world ending just around lunch today (the experiment was to be conducted around 12:30 PM IST). But a striking similarity between all these theories is, all these theories have been in vogue since a long time. I don’t want to deprive a scientist of his job by deciphering and explaining the birth of universe (!!), so I will stick with the comments, of world coming to an end theory, in this blog.

This is not the first time that the world was supposed to come to an end. The world was supposed to come to an end on 31st December, 1999 night. I was in my 4th semester engineering and was delighted that the world will come to an end before I have to take my Machine Drawing exam. My grandfather used to tell me of stories he had heard of the world coming to an end around 31st December, 1900 from his father. Since the world had survived that 1900 scare, he, to my sheer dismay was least bothered about this world coming to an end theory. Nevertheless, so popular was this world coming to an end on 31st December, 1999, that, at that time I remember all local newsletters and magazines had carried this as their first page article. But unfortunately after all this hype the world did not end and I had to study for my exams. This world coming to an end theory became popular yet again when the Tsunami struck some parts of the eastern coast of India in December 2004. Even this time people thronged the temples and prayer halls praying for salvation. Some stanch end of the world theory believers, withdrew all their savings from the banks to buy and enjoy desirables before they were to die. But the world survived the scare yet again.

As in most cases, there are people who actually benefit from such theories. For them, their world will really end on the predicted day (world of opportunities - at least for the time being). The soothsayers and astrologers who suggest prayers and methods to appease God, charging an inflated visitation rate and the retailers and marketers who make use of this God sent opportunity to fill their coffers by selling unwanted products to the clueless customers. And there are scientists and critics who thwart these same clueless customers for falling prey to such stupid theories with the media making fast bucks covering all this. Its back to square one the next morning with the world still alive and kicking the common man, and the benefactors looking forward for the next end of the world theory.

If the world was to really end today, I did not want to die on an empty stomach. So, though I wanted to write and post the blog before the end time, I actually got a chance to write after the lapse of the supposed end time. So, first, let us congratulate ourselves for having made it through and look forward to brace ourselves for the next end of the world day.

~Narendra V Joshi

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