Can you think of a better name for the Large Hadron Collider?

11 September 2008

The multi-billion pound particle accelerator which started up yesterday morning in Switzerland is an incredible scientific machine that might smash open the secrets of the universe, but its name fails to reflect the drama of its mission, or the inspiration it should be conveying to the wider public, said the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Readers of the Metro, Scottish Herald and Scotland Daily Record will already know that Richard Pike announced yesterday that the RSC is offering a 500 prize to the person submitting the best alternative name to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which most effectively captures the imagination of both young and old, whether interested in science, or merely sceptical onlookers.

Dr Pike clarified his interest by adding that, although the LHC and physics address largely the early period of the universe after the Big Bang, up to the first 300,000 years, it was then that matter and atoms began to appear - from which chemistry began to shape the molecules that eventually gave rise to the structure of stars, planets, and life itself. 

He noted that, "As the universe is 13 billion years old, this means that for more than 99.99% of its existence chemistry has played a dominant role. Physics is therefore getting an enormous boost through funding of the LHC, in effect, to explore the first fleeting moments of why we are here. 

"I would make a claim that chemistry, if it received pro rata funding, would be up for trillions of pounds to investigate the mechanisms of the origins and development of life, which would have immediate application within the community. That might be the basis of an RSC funding claim next year!" 

He welcomed suggestions for a good name for the LHC, which should be emailed to Jon Edwards.

The competition will close at noon on Wednesday 17 September 2008 - after one week's safe operation of the LHC. The prize will not be awarded if the Earth is destroyed before this time.

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