Monday, September 1, 2008

Mini BIG BANG Might Cause The End of All

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

On September 10, Hadron collider will be activated and smash atoms to re enact the Big Bang. The six billion dollar experiment designed to cause no harm but one German scientist, Otto Rossler, went as far as saying, "My own calculations have shown it is quite plausible that these little black holes survive and will grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside. I have been calling for CERN to hold a safety conference to prove my conclusions wrong but they have not been willing."

As some other sceptical scientists say this could be the end of the world, they have also sued the experiment in the European Court of Human Rights.

This is what will happen according to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research)

Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

Artist's impression of the Big Bang, the titanic explosion which cosmologists believe created the Universe about 15 billion years ago.

There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what's for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.

CERN photographs: Mona Schweizer

Critics say the LHC could create a black hole which expands until it swallows the Earth

This is a statement by the CERN scientists concerning "your" safety;

Concerns have been expressed from time to time about the safety of new high-energy colliders, and the LHC has been no exception. The LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) was asked last year by the CERN management to review previous LHC safety analyses in light of additional experimental results and theoretical understanding. LSAG confirms, updates and extends previous conclusions that there is no basis for any conceivable threat from the LHC. Indeed, recent theoretical and experimental developments reinforce this conclusion. In this Colloquium, the basic arguments presented by LSAG will be reviewed. Cosmic rays of much higher effective centre-of-mass energies have been bombarding the Earth and other astronomical objects for billions of years, and their continued existence shows that the Earth faces no dangers from exotic objects such as hypothetical microscopic black holes that might be produced by the LHC - as discussed in a detailed paper by Giddings and Mangano. Measurements of strange particle production at RHIC constrain severely the possible production of strangelets in heavy-ion collisions at the LHC, which also present no danger - as discussed in an addendum to the LSAG report. On a different note: although the LHC is no danger to the Earth, it may reveal the fate of the Universe by probing the nature of the vacuum.

Let's just hope that CERN is right on their calculations and no black hole build up is as big as the one which could swallow the earth...

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