Third Data Server From the Sun

Chicago-bound motorists passing mile marker 121 on Interstate-88 through Aurora, Illinois, on Sept. 30, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. likely noticed nothing that seemed particularly remarkable. To their right was a scene of humdrum office parks, and to the left was a low-slung sprawl of buildings, fences, and trees fringed with the first yellow edges of fall color. In the distance, the skyscrapers of the Loop would soon materialize from the afternoon haze.

Appearances, however, were deceptive. Unbeknownst to that heavy stream of Friday traffic, the drivers were threading, both physically and metaphorically, though a moment of profound and potentially far-reaching transition.

Just north of I-88, at the Fermi National Laboratory, the Tevatron Collider had, at 3:00 p.m., completed the last minute of its final day of operation, a victim of budget cuts. For a final few moments, in an awe-inspiring 1.24-mile wide ring of superconducting magnets whose footprint is visible from space, protons and antiprotons had raced in opposite directions at full speed, executing nearly 50 laps per millisecond, colliding head-on in exquisitely staged, almost vanishingly fleeting microscopic disasters where temperatures had exceeded a quadrillion degrees, revisiting, in a quiet corner of suburbia, the extreme state of nature that held sway during the first second of the universe’s existence.

That afternoon’s shuttering of the Tevatron closed the

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de Nautilus

Nautilus8 min de lecture
Gaia, the Scientist: What if the first woman scientist was simply the first woman?
There exists a social hierarchy within science that strikes people who are not mixed up in it as ridiculous. It goes like this: Mathematicians are superior to Physicists, who are, in turn, superior to Chemists, who are of course, superior to Biologis
Nautilus9 min de lecture
You Can’t Dissect a Virtual Cadaver: What is lost when we lose in-person learning.
Last year, my first in medical school at Columbia University, I used a bone saw to slice through the top half of a cadaver’s skull, revealing a gray brain lined with purple blood vessels. This was Clinical Gross Anatomy, the first-year course that ha
Nautilus9 min de lectureScience & Mathematics
Our Most Effective Weapon Is Imagination: Why science changes everything.
In his Theaetetus, Plato remarks to Socrates: “This pathos is proper to the philosopher: It is the thaumazein. And philosophy has no other point of departure than this.” The word, which contains the root thauma, the same that appears in thaumaturgy,