Will the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) destroy the earth when it comes online this summer? The odds that the new super duper fancy really crazy powerful particle collider, built beneath the border of France and Switzerland, will create mini-black holes that could combine, burrow to the center of the earth, gain mass, and be all over the planet like Elvis on a chili burger are not zero. Chances that the LHC will generate an artificial supernova, or create weird new forms of matter that could turn us all into those forms of matter are not zero. There is some small chance those things will happen. How small? Depends on whom you ask.
A lawsuit in US District Court now seeks to forestall scientists from starting up the thing until the potential cosmically catastrophic dangers are "reassessed," and a Web site is now devoted to expressing concerns which, while remote, would be the end of you and me and everything we ever knew if they turn out to have been justified.
Whether or not science is about to accidentally grab hold of some dangerous live wiring inside reality that could fry us all to a crisp, what's amazing to me is the fact that at some point, someone will make the assessment that the risk is worth it. There will be a meeting. And heads will nod, and then they will adjourn the meeting and bring their coffees back to their desks. Similar concerns about unlikely but dire consequences were raised about the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in New York back in the late 90s. They weighed the potential conclusion of life on earth, and then in the end, they went for it anyway. And they will go for it this time, too. Isn't that just so, quintessentially, like, us? And each time will make the next time easier!
It's now proven to be within human nature to voluntarily risk our very existence in order to, among other things, find something called the Higgs Boson particle. Therefore, extending the non-zero chance to infinity, isn't that just another way of saying that it's now a matter of time before some experiment does, in fact, unleash bad, bad things we don't understand, can't control, and didn't predict well enough? And that will be all she wrote.
They are now saying June will be the grand opening. Actual full-power collisions are scheduled to begin in August.
Oh well! Hey listen, you guys have a great day!!!