Tom Hanks to turn on Large Hadron Collider – yes, that Tom Hanks

I’m a fan of the movement which venerates society’s unsung heroes. The nerds, if I’m honest: engineers, physicists, chemists. And thousands of nerds have labored for thousands of days to create the ultimate experimental setup, the Large Hadron Collider. After a rocky start, it’ll be starting back up in June, and guess who’ll be throwing the switch? No, not someone who has anything to do with the thing. They’ve selected a movie star, whose fleeting association with antimatter (the upcoming Angels and Demons) means he’s worthy. Give me a break.

I can’t think of a reason to do this. It’s symbolic. The thinkers of the world have been overshadowed by the glitterati for as long as we can remember, and now when they have something big, something with the budget of twenty Hollywood movies, they do this. They don’t need the press, they don’t need the celebrity. They should have said “Sorry Mr. Hanks, but this isn’t like the movies. This is a serious scientific endeavor, and we can’t have any non-essential personnel in the control room. I’m sure you understand.”