Ghosts and spirits will not stand the test of science. That was the message of Brian Cox, a famous English physicist and a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Manchester.
In a ghost-focused episode for his podcast The Infinite Monkey Cage, Cox said there is no basis for the existence of ghosts. If at all they ever existed, CERN's Large Hadron Collider would have certainly detected them.
Cox, also a well-known presenter of science programs, said there is always a high curiosity about ghosts as the question lingers whether spirits of people can live in the world even after the body's death.
The British physicist said such an afterlife is impossible as spirits would have been detected by the LHC, whose superconducting magnets and accelerators fling millions of particles at high speeds and can comprehend all the mysteries and properties of the universe.
Thanks to the LHC, scientists understand the behavior and interaction of elementary particles and how the world is composed of particles. The LHC data has been rendering valuable information on the decay of particles in addition to providing leads on new particles.
However, in all these high-value data nowhere there was never any clue or proof about the existence of ghosts.
Insisting on the existence of paranormal beings would amount to inventing an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics or skipping detection from the LHC.
That is inconceivable considering the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in human bodies, Cox added.
No Spooky Energy
Cox defended his arguments by noting that ghosts per se are not composed of matter but must be all energy. According to the second law of thermodynamics, any energy form is subject to dissipation upon heating.
If something escapes dissipation, the only reason must be ghosts drawing some "spooky energy" of their own. Such a possibility is not logical in the light of the standard model of physics or the results obtained from particle accelerator experiments.
"If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made," said Cox.
He also told a questioner that the European Council for Nuclear Research has already disproved the existence of ghosts.
Meanwhile, the LHC located in the safe environs of the Franco-Swiss border has state-of-the-art robots managing its upkeep and security.
The high security is in line with the scale of the LHC, which emits protons through 2,000-odd magnets at an average rate of 11,000 times a second.
The tunnel where the LHC is housed has restricted access for human visitors. There are 120 tons of liquid helium kept at 1.9 Kelvin, according to Ron Suykerbuyk, a staffer at the LHC.
The helium storage is meant for cooling and keeping the electromagnets in the superconducting state as the wires carry 13,000 amps of electric current.
The underground access is strictly regulated when the cryogenic systems are on.
The CERN is looked after around the clock by the Train Inspection Monorail or TIM whose wagons, cameras, and sensors slide through the LHC tunnel's ceiling.
Two TIM robots are currently handling the surveillance by mounting patrol on LHC quadrants and keeping operators in readiness to access any part of the tunnel that is spread across 17 miles.
The TIM patrolling is further monitored by an automated eye that watches for any changes in the tunnel and radiation signals. Metrics of temperature, oxygen, and cellphone reception are taken care of by sensors.
"In addition to performing environmental measurements, TIM is a safety system which can be the eyes and ears for members of the CERN Fire Brigade and operations team," said Mario Di Castro, who heads CERN's robotics team.
In addition to the TIM, there are also tele-operated robots run by CERN to scan troublesome areas.