Channel 4 gets excited about LHC and String Theory

These days I get most of my news from the internet but occasionally I catch the Channel 4 News on TV after watching Time Team. Twice in the space of a few weeks they have mentioned the LHC, a sure sign that media interest is increasing. The first time was about the recent rumour (now quashed), but today they ran a piece about the Large Hadron Collider and String Theory. I get excited about both subjects so it is nice to see them on the UK news, but I also know that the LHC is not really about proving String Theory so I watched with some trepidation and the imagined words of Woit calling it “hype” ringing in my head.

The article was in fact about the study of the “quark gluon soup” in the heavy ion run last year and the key line was that “The maths of string theory might explain the weirdness of this subatomic soup.” I breathed a sign of relief seeing that this is basically a reasonable statement and not a confusion about using the effects to test String Theory as a unified theory, even if most viewers were unlikely to appreciate the distinction.

Unfortunately they blew it right at the end with this very confused statement:
“In the coming years the hadron collider will run at higher and higher power, each time probing deeper into the subatomic world. When physicists finally turn it up to 11 – multiple dimensions if they exist should make their appearance in our three dimensional world” – eh?

Well it does not bother me as much as some that the journalists never get it quite right. It is still good that they consider these things interesting enough to report to the masses and it will whet peoples appetite for any discoveries that might come this year.

11 Responses to Channel 4 gets excited about LHC and String Theory

  1. [...] Philip Gibbs points to an impressive piece of string theory hype from British Channel 4 news. [...]

  2. Philip Gibbs says:

    I’ve no idea what he intended when he said “turn it up to 11″. The LHC will go up to 14 TeV so where did the 11 come from? I wondered if he misread the auto-cue and 11 was the number of dimensions, but that does not really work either. Anyone?

    And what triggered this report? I don’t know.

  3. el hombre says:


  4. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    Spinal tap, a cult favorite in HS.

  5. [...] or [...]


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