Thursday, 4 September 2008

'Will the world end next wednesday?'

'The largest, most expensive scientific experiment in history, the 'Large Hadron Collider', to be turned on next Wednesday.

Although it was designed to answer the fundamental questions of life, some people have claimed that it could end up destroying the entire cosmos.

This gigantic £4 billion-plus atom-smasher has been built under the Swiss-French border near Geneva, and is the most powerful device ever built for probing the secrets of the atom and the forces and particles which make up our Universe.

It is a staggering device, occupying a train-sized tunnel 18 miles long, buried 300ft underground, studded with gigantic, cathedral-sized ring-shaped detectors where collisions between packets of 'heavy' subatomic particles, 'hadrons', will take place in the hope that the innermost workings of matter and energy will be revealed.

The LHC is, arguably, the most impressive machine ever built by Mankind.

But a few people are convinced that it should never be turned on. A lawsuit has been lodged at the European Court For Human Rights by a small group of maverick scientists.

They claim there is a small - but not zero - chance that when the LHC is activated it will create either a mini-black hole which would fall into the ground and swallow the Earth from within (scenario one).

Or, even more bizarrely, trigger a catastrophic chain reaction in the very fabric of space and time itself, which would rip apart the entire universe like the skin of a bursting balloon (scenario two).'

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FilmNoir23 said...

Are you scared? Either way you best be pulling some pints between now and then brother!

onscrn said...

Don't worry. The only people raising concerns are incompetent to judge. One of them is a bit wacky.

I've written about it on my blog: Large Hadron Collider: What’s the Risk? if anyone's worried.