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September 8, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Large Hadron Collider – Harbinger of Doom?

You may or may not have heard about the Large Hadron Collider.  They (“they” being scientists and physicists) are going to turn it on for the first time on September 10.  Many people around the world are upset about this, because the scientists have acknowledged that it’s possible that black holes could be created by the Large Hadron Collider.  I don’t know about you, but I remember learning about black holes in elementary school – dark whorls of universe-suctioning doom.  Though there are lawsuits against the LHC and many, many people protesting it’s existence, they are going to turn it on anyway just to See What Happens.  I guess I can understand that, being somewhat attracted to bright red buttons that say DO NOT PUSH myself.  But I think I could avoid such a button, if there were indicators that the very destruction of humankind could result.

Hopefully, and probably, nothing will happen, and if there are black holes generated maybe they’ll only be big enough to suck in the physicists and the collider itself before passing out of the Earth’s atmosphere.  I hope it doesn’t suck away Switzerland, because I really want to visit Switzerland someday.

Here is what one of those smart people, John Huth, said (from CNN):

John Huth, who works on the collider’s ATLAS experiment, called such fears “baloney” in a recent interview, and noted that in normal physics, even if the black hole were stable, it could just pass through the Earth without being detected or without interacting at all.
“The gravitational force is so weak that you’d have to wait many, many, many, many, many lifetimes of the universe before one of these things could [get] big enough to even get close to being a problem,” said Huth, professor of physics at Harvard University.

But then, another one of them said:
Since this is exploratory science, the collider may uncover surprises that contradict prevailing
theories, but which are just as interesting, said Joseph Lykken, theoretical physicist at the Fermi
National Accelerator Laboratory.

Although the detector’s parts weigh thousands of tons, in previous trials of CMS at lower power, the magnet actually yanked certain parts around because of its power, Lykken said.  “You’re talking about such incredible power inside both the accelerator and detectors that you never really know until you turn it all on what’s going to happen,” he said. 

Now I’m certainly not a rocket scientist but I can’t help but think of that experiment where all the scientists got their metric system confused with the English system.  I hope that those yokels that (hopefully) got fired from NASA didn’t go to work at CERN.   So will all of us live to see another eleventh of September?  It remains to be seen.  Apaprently it’s a risk that some yahoos with several university degrees, and apparently no real reasons to live, are willing to take.

CERN’s site for the Large Hadron Collider. 

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11 Comments

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  1. Bill / Sep 13 2008 2:16 pm

    They still have a lot of testing of the machine to do before they collide anything. I saw comments by a scientist the other day that this collider is the most important scientific experiment that has ever been done. Sorry, but I don’t care much about the “Big Bang” if there even was one so I don’t care if they almost get to the conditions that caused it. I can think of lots better places tp spend $5Billion!

  2. maleesha / Sep 10 2008 6:52 am

    We’re still here! We’re still here! I guess they made a metric error after all.

  3. Dave / Sep 9 2008 7:28 pm

    If you don’t wake up tomorrow, you’ll know that it went wrong and the world ended. Personally, I’m kinda hoping for that so I won’t have to go to work. 🙂

    You bring up yet another benefit of the LHC.

  4. Will Entrekin / Sep 9 2008 4:05 pm

    Over at the Telegraph, Brian Cox, a physicist from Manchester, already addressed your concerns.

    Thanks. But I’m not concerned at all. I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a black hole, even more than I’ve wanted to see Switzerland!

  5. laughingbandit / Sep 9 2008 1:55 pm

    I would like to point people here:

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2008/09/calling_bullshit.html

    And Charles Stross is only one of the possible arguments in favour the LHC. Go and use the internet like Google intended…Search for more info.

    Don’t poop your pants. I know how to use the intarweb really really good. And I’m sure we’ll all learn more from a website called “antipope.”

  6. nithrandur / Sep 9 2008 10:57 am

    Just wait and see.

    And humans, yes, we humans, are structured towards the infinite.

  7. bluesuit12 / Sep 9 2008 7:56 am

    My guess is that after spending billions on this thing it’ll only knock off the power. But they’ll say it was a marvelous breakthrough and they advanced years in research.

  8. crisitunity / Sep 9 2008 6:03 am

    I agree with you and Teeni. Why do men feel they have to do stuff just because it’s possible? They are toying with forces that we don’t understand!

    Your humor in this post is definitely making the whole issue a little better.

  9. morethananelectrician / Sep 8 2008 8:35 pm

    A istake might change the global warming debate a bit!

    It is hard to debate anything when you have been annihilated, good point

  10. curlywurlygurly / Sep 8 2008 8:22 pm

    hmmm…would this spell the end for toblerone? i better stock up.

    (using humor to deal with my fear on this insane topic.)

    look on the bright side…the gravity of a black hole could theoretically make the toblerones a lot heavier and harder to eat. it might make you feel like you had a lot of toblerones even if you only had a few. also, there are no calories in a black hole so you can eat as many toblerones as you want. hey, I’m a genius.

  11. teeni / Sep 8 2008 6:35 pm

    Yet another example of humans just doing something because they CAN and not bothering to wonder whether they SHOULD. I think I SHOULD go TASER the fool who dares to press that ON button. I would enjoy that.

    “But it’s for science.” *barf*

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