Large Hadron Collider To End the World

September 10, 2008 | By | 13 Replies More

There are plenty of innumerate groups who think that the LHC will destroy the world, as they have with each generation of nuclear test device before. Loud groups with mailing lists and placards.

The Large Hadron Collider (in case you were unaware) is the Swiss upgrade to the unfinished Superconducting Super Collider that the U.S. half built in the 1990’s. A Hardon is basically an atomic nucleus. “Large” means up to the size of the lead (Pb) nucleus (mass of 207 amu‘s each). The SSC was being built in Texas, but between cutting science funding and groups protesting its danger, Congress cut it.

They fired the LHC up this morning (3:30 EDT) just to spin some protons around at nearly the speed of light. Soon, they will be ready to actually cause a collision between 2 counter-rotating currents of these hadrons. Their best hope is to find the Higgs Boson, presumably the source of mass within quarks.

The detractors worst fear is that they will create a microscopic black hole that will swallow the Earth. Over at the BadAstronomy blog, he details why this is silly. In brief, the LHC isn’t big enough. Anything we can build on the planet wouldn’t be big enough. Note: The total energy density in the core of the Sun obviously isn’t big enough, or it would be a black hole.

But, then there is this bit of silliness: HasTheLargeHadronColliderDestroyedTheWorldYet.com. If you read the code behind the page, you find several programmer in-jokes. But there is also the comment:

if the lhc actually destroys the earth & this page isn’t yet updated
please email mike@frantic.org to receive a full refund

Ya gets what yez pays for, I guess.

Then, there is this (The LHC Rap):

Perhaps Physicists rapping is the sign of the end times.

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Category: Current Events, Education, Energy, Humor, ignorance, Science, Technology, Web Site

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (13)

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  1. Tim Hogan says:

    Hey, Dan! I heard one of the inquiries at CERN is into why objects have Mass.

    I have Mass as an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace, how 'bout you?

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    For some reason, this reminded me of a little project cooked up by some friends of mine in the late 1970's. There was a lot on anti-scientific legislation goning on at the time and it became obvious that the professional politicians had no knowlege of many things about which they were writing laws to regulate. The idea wa, to start a bogus grass-roots movement to have an obscure law of physics amended. Our choice for the obscure law of physics was Chandrasekhar's Limit ( the maximum mass for a star to collapse into a a white dwarf, above which it will form a neutron star or a black hole).

    If a special case of Chandrasekhar's Limit were applied to the national debt, for example, the debt would turn into a black hole. Of course militart spending would be exempt as it is already a black hole.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    LHC caused death, at least that's what this MSNBC report says. In brief, an Indian girl committed suicide because of widely reported doomsday predictions. As BadAstronomy blogger Phil Plait points out, Uncritical Thinking Kills.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Tim: I have excess mass because of the cakes at La Dolce Via a short 3 mile ride from my house.

    Yes, they have tea. Just not in their name.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    BTW, how will be know when we're all dead (due to the collider)? What if life after death looks a lot like life before death? Will I be able to see myself in a mirror in "heaven"? Will there be cheese popcorn? So much I don't know . . .

  6. Tim Hogan says:

    Dan, my Mass has been increased through excessive bombardment by the three basic constituent particle groups: pizza, pizza beverage and pizza accessory.

    The presence of "dark matter" as a result of the bombardment explains why I haven't imploded into a black hole sucking in the rest of this end of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. You don't want to go there, ever!

  7. The jury is still out on this. "Scientists Not So Sure 'Doomsday Machine' Won't Destroy World"

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,483477,00.htm

    If that's the case I may skip getting my hair cut next week.

  8. Dan Klarmann says:

    Mike: Fox, really? The energy produced by the LHC is still much less than what is found within the sun, or even in collisions between cosmic rays and our atmosphere. In each of these cases, no dangerous black holes have been produced in the last few billion years of continuous bombardment. How do we know? We're here.

  9. Dan, I was being facetious! It's FOX!!

  10. Dan Klarmann says:

    Mike, my problem is that I just got my hair cut, and walked home practically bare headed in the sleet. I got a cold. The first thing to stop working when a rhino-virus gets me is my mind. I candt thingk straidt.

    But I did document my haircut on YouTube before symptoms appeared. Or maybe that was the first symptom.

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    Dan: With the barber working at such speed, I'm surprised you didn't have any Van Gogh moments.

  12. Dan, I now see the reason for the knit cap in your avatar!

    Very clever vid! The music suits it perfectly.

    This is not quite the same thing, but here's something I did along similar lines that you might find mildly interesting. This is a scene that got cut from a recent documentary that attempts to use a well known classical piece where it doesn't quite belong.



    I know we are defying Erich's policy by going off-topic with these posts but since the world is ending soon anyway he won't have much time left to chastise us!

  13. Dan, I now see the reason for the knit cap in your avatar! Very clever vid! The

    music suits it perfectly.

    This is not quite the same thing, but here's something I did along similar lines that

    you might find mildly interesting. This is a scene that got cut from a recent

    documentary that attempts to use a well known classical piece where it doesn't

    quite belong.



    I know we are defying Erich's policy by going off-topic with these posts but since the world is ending soon anyway he won't have much time left to chastise us!

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