David Kirkpatrick

April 15, 2008

Large Hadron Collider — a realistic risk assessment

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

There’s been plenty written on the subject of Cern’s Large Hadron Collider and the potential for ending life as we know it via a tiny black hole or stranglets. The whole concept has received a lot more publicity after a lawsuit was filed to stop Cern from flipping the “on” switch.

The linked NYT’s article does about as good of job as I’ve read covering the realities of the issue at hand. The overall verdict? Sure it’s not entirely risk-free, but nothing truly is so move along folks. All will be fine. I’ve read a lot on this by some qualified scientific minds. There’s pretty much universal agreement the risk is more than acceptable. I’ll defer to the experts here and discount the cassandra-ish laymen.

From the link:

That question has been raised by the impending startup of the Large Hadron Collider. It starts smashing protons together this summer at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or Cern, outside Geneva, in hopes of grabbing a piece of the primordial fire, forces and particles that may have existed a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Critics have contended that the machine could produce a black hole that could eat the Earth or something equally catastrophic.

To most physicists, this fear is more science fiction than science fact. At a recent open house weekend, 73,000 visitors, without pitchforks or torches, toured the collider without incident.

Nevertheless, some experts say too much hype and not enough candor on the part of scientists about the promises and perils of what they do could boomerang into a public relations disaster for science, opening the door for charlatans and demagogues.

For all my LHC blogging hit this link.

3 Comments »

  1. Interesting article, thanks.

    I’d previously been of the opinion “Don’t you have any uncharted territories lying around that definitely won’t kill me.”

    Which is still probably where i’ll stay until I read some more about it.

    Comment by David Miller — April 15, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  2. […] nuclear research, particle accelerator, PhysOrg.com — davidkirkpatrick @ 6:37 pm I’ve blogged about the Large Hadron Collider before, and there’s some exciting news out of Geneva today. The LHC goes live September […]

    Pingback by CERN announces Large Hadron Collider startup date « David Kirkpatrick — August 7, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  3. […] you’re interested in more LHC news check out previous blog posts here, here and […]

    Pingback by LHC will not destroy Earth « David Kirkpatrick — September 1, 2008 @ 5:26 pm


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