The symbolism is strong. As scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva smash subatomic particles in the world’s largest experiment, Shiva, the destroyer, will be in close proximity.
On Wednesday, a powerful particle accelerator will use massive energy surges to simulate the universe’s creation with the Big Bang. And it would not have been possible without India, says Dr Amit Roy, director, Nuclear Science Centre, Delhi. “We’ve made precision-made jacks on which the 27-km machine is resting.”
Over 100 Indian scientists from institutes like the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Bhabha Atomic Energy Centre are involved in the Large Hardron Collider (LHC) project.
The Department of Atomic Energy gifted a two-metre bronze statue of the Nataraja to CERN on June 18, 2004 to celebrate the centre’s India connection.
Indian Atomic Energy Commission boss Anil Kakodkar had then said: “The Indian scientific community is part of the quest for understanding the universe.”
Author Fritjof Capra first drew a parallel between Shiva’s dance of creation and destruction and the dance of subatomic particles in The Tao of Physics.
A plaque next to the statue quotes Capra: “Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter. For modern physicists... Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”
Inputs by Zia Haq