The ALICE experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is the setting for a high-energy physics event that triggers world-wide havoc in the science-fiction novel Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer. The novel is the basis for a new ABC action-adventure series, “FlashForward,” which premiers September 24.
Peter Jacobs of Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division is a member of the international collaboration of scientists working at ALICE, one of four major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the only one designed to collide massive lead atoms to create the quark/gluon plasma, mimicking conditions less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.
In this interview, Jacobs discusses the real science that will done at ALICE and its relationship to the science fiction in Sawyer’s entertaining novel. Jacobs talks about ALICE (the acronym means A Large Ion Collider Experiment) from the experimentalist’s point of view. An interview with theoretician John Ellis is on the CERN website at http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1202585
For Wikipedia’s discussion of Sawyer’s novel, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashforward_%28novel%29
ABC’s website for the new TV series is http://abc.go.com/shows/flash-forward?partner=rm&cid=KNC-rm+flashforward_title_fall_launch+google+flash_forward
More about ALICE’s search for the quark/gluon plasma is at http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2009/04/07/closer-to-the-first-millionth-of-a-second/ and at http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/sabl/2008/Feb/jets.html
The ALICE collaboration website is at http://aliceinfo.cern.ch/Collaboration/
News, spectacular photos, up-to-date blogs from CERN and more are at the US/LHC Collaboration website at http://www.uslhc.us/