Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Particle Accelerator that will Destroy Humanity

As you may or may not have noticed Bryan has been away but he will return soon and we also have a guest writer named Katie. So we have a lot to look forward too. In the meantime we'll discuss what some believe to be a machine could destroy humanity.

The dreaded(by few) yet much awaited LHC or the Large Hadron Collider.

As the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, the LHC may be the key to finding the Higgs boson, which is supposed to be the missing link in explaining how other elementary particles acquire properties like mass. Conversely, if it is not found (which is a possibility) it may throw the physics world into a state of flux.

In addition to finding the Higgs boson, scientist are looking to find such things as strangelets and micro black holes.  Surprisingly, the issue of creating a black hole has actually become a legal issue.

Two guys form Hawaii have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii asking for injunction against the collider because of a fear that it could create an Armageddon of sorts for the world. With the possibility of particle collisions at new and unexplored energy levels, some people have expressed fears that if a black hole is created(albeit a very small one),  than it will swallow up the earth and humanity and we'll all be gone. The idea of a DIY(Do It Yourself) black hole is interesting but luckily there is a low likelihood that it will destroy us all.

I wonder who these guys are and what they were thinking if they were thinking at all about the law suit they were bringing up. Here is a description of the two guys from a New York Times article:

"Mr. Wagner, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, studied physics and did cosmic ray research at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a doctorate in law from what is now known as the University of Northern California in Sacramento. He subsequently worked as a radiation safety officer for the Veterans Administration.

Mr. Sancho, who describes himself as an author and researcher on time theory, lives in Spain, probably in Barcelona, Mr. Wagner said."

This guy said..."probably." Luckily, the LHC does have a legal defense fund to deal with this, so this lawsuit may not be a big problem for now.

My friend Jonathan said this:

"Even if it magically did create a black hole that ended up destroying humanity, i think i would be amused, i mean that's a pretty sick way to go"

I kind of agree with this. I was wondering if we could watch other people fall into the event horizon which is the point of no return.

Unfortunately, I discovered that we would be swallowed up instantly, so there would be no free viewing of humanity's demise.

Either way this is definitely something to watch out for and not in the negative doomsday way but for the possibilities. The LHC may solve some of the biggest mysterious in physics and it just might be worth the .99999999% risk of Armageddon.

New York Times

Technology Review

Sancho v. U.S. Department of Energy et al

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