Missing the 'Big Bang' party


Madam, - W.J. Murphy (September 16th) says, in a parody of Goering's remark about Kultur, "Whenever I hear the words 'nuclear research' other words, such as 'Nagasaki' and 'Chernobyl' spring to mind'.

This ridiculous statement demonstrates the widespread ignorance that exists about anything to do with nuclear matters. The words "nuclear research" in Cern's title refer solely to man's attempts to discover the basic nature of the matter of which everything in the universe is made. At Cern it has nothing to do with weapons or power.

The comment about Ernest Walton and his peers is merely petty and uneducated. - Yours, etc,

DAVID SOWBY, Knocksinna Crescent, Dublin 18.

Madam, — W.J. Murphy bemoans the fact that Ernest Walton - an Irish scientist, and our only Nobel prize-winner for science - "split the atom".

This was done with a linear accelerator, a precursor of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, and was powered by a high-voltage generator known as a Cockcroft-Walton voltage multiplier. Mr Murphy might be surprised to learn that his TV set (I'm presuming he has a conventional one) actually contains a Cockcroft-Walton high-voltage generator. Furthermore, if he is ever unfortunate enough to develop cancer, he might be treated using nuclear radiation from radioactive isotopes or maybe even a linear accelerator. - Yours, etc,

GEORGE REYNOLDS, Annamoe, Co Wicklow.