Brought down by a bird – CERN (the Large Hadron Collider, now powered up in Switzerland) is scaring scientists in an unexpected way: They’re afraid they WILL discovered the “God particle.” This could top a lot of the other bad things that have happened recently.

In the LHC proton beams will race around in a ring deep underground in hopes of detecting a theoretical particle that quantum physicists call the Higgs boson, which will confirm current theories about the creation of the universe. If CERN discovers the Higgs (and no OTHER mysterious particles), then these theories will be validated. The problem then will be that particle physics will have nowhere left to go in its search for the truth. It will have come to a dead end.

In New Scientist, Anil Ananthaswamy quotes Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg as saying, “I’m terrified. Discovering just the Higgs would really be a crisis.”

Birds are attacking CERN as well: An owl that pecked at a piece of bread dropped (by a bird-loving scientist?) on an external power supply, causing a short circuit that shut down part of the experiment. quotes CERN spokespeople as saying, “The bird escaped unharmed but lost its bread.”

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