Monday, September 08, 2008

Large Hadron Collider to destroy Earth?

For months now, probably longer, some have been concerned that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), being built in Europe by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), could spawn a black hole or other cosmic nasty that will wipe out the Earth. Two men in Hawaii were so frightened, they sought a "temporary restraining order prohibiting CERN from proceeding with the accelerator," reported the NY Times in March.

Ever since, "internet-fuelled concerns" (of course) have "shadowed" development of the LHC,
reports Cosmos Magazine. And another group tried to stop CERN in a European court (but the bit was tossed in August).

Scientists at CERN are pretty confused by all the fuss. According to them, they're not creating any particle reactions that don't occur naturally in our upper atmosphere. In fact, one key difference, the upper atmospheric reactions occur at "much higher" energy levels than those in the LHC.

What's the LHC? It's a 17-mile underground circular tunnel where scientists will accelerate particles to near light-speed and smash them together.

What for? According to Cosmos, observing the collisions "could help resolve some of the biggest questions in physics, such as the nature of mass, the weakness of gravity and whether, as some theoreticians suggest, there exist dimensions beyond our own."

In case you're still worried about the LHC destroying the Earth, you'd better get out your
bucket lists now and get busy, the LHC goes online Wednesday (September 10th).

(Photo, courtesy
Juhanson, show a tunnel within the LHC)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.