A student asked a great question in the other teacher's chemistry class today. It hit the nail on the head vis-a-vis colliders and how little we regular people know what's being learned in them:
Kid: "So, what you're saying is, they use this big expensive machine to smash two atoms together and see what it makes?"
Kid: "And the result is just a fleeting, single atom of a new element that almost immediately falls apart? What's the point? Is it just for fun?"
I have to admit, I have little idea what the point is either. . .
Short Film on CERN, the current best-in-the-world atom smasher.