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Edgar Carrera | USLHC | USA

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Rio 2016!!

Despite of what TV makes us believe about scientists (and in particular about physicists), several of us, like a great percentage of the world population, are very much passionate about sports.  In my case, although I enjoy other disciplines as well, football (soccer) occupies a special place in my life.  In fact, I was very happy I was invited to participate in the CERN’s futsal tournament this year.  My team, “El Equipo-A”,  just played its first game last week against the defending champions.  Having not played more than twice with each other before, we did really good for the first game; our rivals were very lucky to tie the game at the end! 😉  It is a lot of fun…

I bring all this up because last week it was announced that Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.  Earlier, FIFA had announced that Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well.  Being South American, I am, of course, very excited for my continent and I entertained the idea of going there to work for a few years (for “those” years 🙂 ).

But there is a little problem.  I found this web page, after a quick Google search for particle accelerators, which basically tells me that there is no particle colliders in the South American continent, and just a couple of very small particle accelerators for condensed matter research.  My first thought was: quick!! we need to build a particle collider in Rio soon 🙂 !

Science (collider physics in particular) and the Olympics usually have common (luckily not many) detractors.  They say that we should not spend that much money doing these activities while there are starving kids in the world.  Of course, those who think this way seem not to understand their own humanity and also are a little confused.  Why do we compete in sports? Why do humans pursue the understanding of how things work at most elementary level?  Maybe there is not a very simple answer to these questions, but I am sure the majority of us sense the need of such activities for achieving a better civilization, a better society, and above all, to improve our own humanity.

Since the (my) perfect world, in which there would be one cutting-edge particle collider at least in each continent, is not possible for the moment, my plans for working in Rio during the exciting sporty times might not become true.  At the same time, I realize how lucky I am to be at CERN right now and be part of the extraordinary LHC adventure.

TAGLINE: The amount of money spent on the LHC is just a fraction of the money spent in organizing a Summer Olympics.  Moreover, the total money put into these activities is a very small fraction of the yearly amount spent in weapons in the world.

Edgar Carrera (Boston University)

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