Monday, 30 November 2009

The return of Merlin

Stonehenge, an ancient circle [image: courtesy National Geographic]

Large Hadron Collider, a modern circle [image: courtesy Wiki-Commons]

Dr. Lyn Evans, known to the Welsh as Evans the Atom, may well be a new Merlin awakened. The original Merlin, the Welsh wizard known at King Arthur's Court, hailed from Carmarthen. Lyn Evans, sometimes referred to as the destroyer of the world, was born just 50 miles away in the small town of Aberdare.

The original Merlin was fooled by the seductive charms of the beautiful temptress Fay Morgan (later to become the Fata Morgana of illusion). As a result Merlin now sleeps in a mysterious crystal cave. The location of his undiscovered resting place might well lie in a mountain range known as the Preseli Hills situated on the West Coast of Wales. The reason I make this bold claim is because it is in these hills that the magical crystal stones, commonly known as the blue stones, which make up the important inner-circle of Stonehenge (Wiltshire) are found.

The blue stones, and I have one, are blue-grey in colour and have white crystals scattered through them like currants in a cake. It follows that Merlin would not hesitate choose the Preseli Hills for his eternal sleep. Hence the legend of a magical crystal cave. Merlin would have walked over these hills many times, for they are not far from Carmarthen, and he would have seen the quarries which even today have the appearance of work only temporarily stopped. Standing there I half-expected a band of Stonehenge quarrymen to appear out of the swirling mists at any moment.

And now 5,000 years after the Preseli quarries were mined a new magician has appeared on the scene. Lyn Evans recently restarted his brainchild the Large Hadron Collider and we now await its amazing discoveries. Quantum particles will be fired into each other at almost the speed of light and colliding they will briefly produce temperatures hotter than the centre of the sun. "There might even be 10 dimensions in there," said one quantum physicist.

Evans has spent the last 40 years of his life designing and building his giant magic wand and one more year getting it to work. And now he has switched it on.

Those early observers of the stars, the ancient Stonehenge and Preseli people, would be extremely proud of this modern day magician who carries on the fine tradition of opening our eyes and minds to the workings of the amazing universe in which we live and have our beings.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A bottle of moon water, please!

[image courtesy of NASA]

The NASA image, released yesterday, shows a plume of dust raised by a projectile deliberately crashed into the Moon's surface. The dust cloud was analyzed and found to contain molecules of water.
When I was a young boy they told me that the Moon was made of green cheese and that there was no water on the Moon. They were were wrong on both counts. There's a message in there somewhere.

The amount of water discovered in the dust cloud was not very much; some 100 litres all told in that light grey plume that you may just about make out if you can squint at the screen at the right angle.
Obviously for water to exist on the Moon it must be frozen and the source of it must lie somewhere under the dust in the shadow of the crater where no sun ever shines. What I think is amazing about this discovery, which confirms a similar discovery by India, is that the Moon's water probably comes, like the Moon itself, from our own precious and wonderful blue planet, the Earth.
When we return to the Moon, for now there is some real point to returning there, and we bore into the frozen reservoir of Moon-ice will we find any evidence of life? An immense question. The answer may well change the way we see ourselves and define our new role in the Universe.