The LHC is not only a monumental machine, it might give us clues to how the universe works and what it’s made of… (from the Wikipedia)…

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that lies under the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is in the final stages of construction and commissioning, with some sections already being cooled down to their final operating temperature of approximately 2K. The first beams are due for injection in August 2008, with the first collisions planned to take place about 2 months later. The LHC will become the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. The LHC is being funded and built in collaboration with over two thousand physicists from thirty-four countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

When activated, it is theorized that the collider might produce the elusive Higgs boson, the observation of which could confirm the predictions and “missing links” in the Standard Model of physics and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass. The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would be a significant step in the search for a Grand Unified Theory, which seeks to unify three of the four known fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, leaving out only gravity. The Higgs boson may also help to explain why gravitation is so weak compared to the other three forces. In addition to the Higgs boson, other theorized novel particles that might be produced, and for which searches are planned, include strangelets, micro black holes, magnetic monopoles and supersymmetric particles.

And of course there are people who want to stop the Large Hadron Collider because it might destroy the Earth by opening up a Black Hole or something like that. There are two websites devoted to this, and there might be legal action…

Here’s a post from Scott Aaronson, Better safe than sorry

As a concerned citizen of Planet Earth, I demand that the LHC begin operations as soon as possible, at as high energies as possible, and continue operating until such time as it is proven completely safe to turn it off.

Given our present state of knowledge, we simply cannot exclude the possibility that aliens will visit the Earth next year, and, on finding that we have not yet produced a Higgs boson, find us laughably primitive and enslave us.  Or that a wormhole mouth or a chunk of antimatter will be discovered on a collision course with Earth, which can only be neutralized or deflected using new knowledge gleaned from the LHC.  Yes, admittedly, the probabilities of these events might be vanishingly small, but the fact remains that they have not been conclusively ruled out.  And that being the case, the Precautionary Principle dictates taking the only safe course of action: namely, turning the LHC on as soon as possible.

After all, the fate of the planet might conceivably depend on it.