We know the LHC won’t end the world, but in an amusing note before its big switch-on tomorrow Stephen Hawking (he of the physics brain the size of a planet) has admitted he’s got a $100 bet that the machine won’t succeed in one of its big goals: finding the very mysterious Higgs boson.
In a BBC radio interview he joked “I think it will be much more exciting if we don’t find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again” before admitting to his bet. If found, the Higgs particle, also dubbed the “God particle” would be crucial evidence supporting the standard model of particle physics, but it’s managed to remain elusive to date.
Hawking does think the LHC might find superpartner particles though (“supersymmetric partners” to particles we already know about) and that might be a key to string theory. Will he lose his cash? Only time will tell. Just remember, time is relative.