Better safe than sorry – keep the Large Hadron Collider on all the time!

Better safe than sorry – keep the Large Hadron Collider on all the time!

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.

24 thoughts on “Better safe than sorry – keep the Large Hadron Collider on all the time!

  1. gnomic says:

    kudos to Scott Aaronson! Some people watch too much science fiction and read too little science. We should point and laugh at them loudly. Sadly evolution does not work fast enough in resolving this persistnent issue of Ignorant people influancign public policy.

  2. gnomic says:

    on a DIY home nuclear collider! Ok, maybe not a true atom smasher, but how about someone building a scale model that does it with larger ball-bearing type objects to show how this science works. It would make a way cool science display!

  3. cgeye says:

    and makes absolutely no attempt to tackle the real issue: Big Science moves on without any accountability as to local consequences.

    Too many nuclear plants have leaked poison into the environment for people to blindly trust what a powerful physics experimental machine might actually do, since everything’s based on theories that the machine will test.

    The opponents worry; he’s being an *****

  4. Simon says:

    I always wonder if the people against such things would also have complained about the first uses of fire when man discovered that.

    Of course back then you couldn’t try suing your problems away.

  5. JTankers says:

    Actually when CERN’s SPC Committee validated the 2008 LSAG Safety Report it included a disclaimer:

    Quote “this argument relies on properties of cosmic rays and neutrinos that, while highly plausible, do require confirmation” – SPC Committee

    This approval report is available here:

    Unfortunately there are no reasonably irrefutable arguments for the safety of creating micro black holes with velocities too slow to escape Earth. Not one.

    Three strongly disputed assumptions… Micro Black holes are created or not, decay or not, grow slowly or not.

    Have you seen the “Your Prefer Your Collider” music video?

  6. Robert Darlington says:

    I love how my comments are censored when you don’t agree with them, never mind I cited references!

  7. McGUrk says:

    Quick! Somebody invent a new way to tie shoelaces with an electron beam in ORDER TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE WASTE OF HARDONS NOT COLLIDING AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

  8. wilhelm says:

    This experiment is sick and those that think it a joke are sick. The scientists are terrorists in threatening mass destruction. They have no right to veto my existence, the lives of my children, life on earth in all its wonderous beauty and complexity. They have no right to threaten the people of Earth with mega death.
    The experiment has to be stopped at all costs. No data or knowledge is worth this kind of risk. Science has reached its limitation. People were quite happy in the past with simple pleasures. No one needs this science or data. we have too much already. Humans need to return to simple and sustainable living and not be threatened by a minority of freaks with over sized brains and no appreciation of Nature and everyday things like mountains, birds, insects, flowers or the sunrise.

  9. charlesgallant says:

    wilhelm, I’m sorry, but I just can’t see where you’re coming from. There’s no way scientists can even wield… let alone THREATEN the people of earth with Megadeth. There’s just no way. They’re the best rock band ever. Frankly, I think you’re overlooking at LEAST a few amazing albums, including Countdown to Destruction and Rust in Peace.

  10. Rhayader says:

    wilhelm, you have no idea what you are talking about. “People in the past were quite happy with simple pleasures”? “No one needs this science or data”? These are the exact same things that the church has been telling us since the days of a geocentric universe; I would hazard a guess and say that some of the scientific developments since then have benefited mankind.

    Beyond that, you need to realize that this is science, not engineering. Science is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake; an ostensible ‘goal’ or ‘purpose’ is not a component of science. In fact, the presence of a desire on the part of the scientist can easily lead to poorly designed experiments and misinterpreted results.

    Your comment shows not only a fundamental misunderstanding of the risks involved with this project, but also a basic inability to understand the place of science in society.

  11. know it all says:

    i beleive in God our saviour that we should not know all the answers at the risk of destroying our beautiful earth that we have the priviledge of living in from out almighty God

    Let us live until the end let our actions not be condemned but praise us more for we are good and honourable people and do not judge us for we are only human some may be mislead in the way of the world so lets pray for health and happiness of our people


  12. Jester says:

    wilhelm & know it all…

    Last i checked, praying over the centuries didn’t lead to god bringing us electricty or vaccines or cars…. and if it did, then i don’t want to wait 2000 years for the next jump in science. He made us in his image as it’s always said by many of the religious, so who’s to say we aren’t doing exactly what he(god) wants us to do. Science is the ultimate way of understanding/learning what God created and gave to us (if you believe that’s what he gave us). Since when did god or jesus ever tell their followers “stop learning and stop understanding”. If columbus had stoped when he lost sight of europe and turned around to go back home and said, i’m not meant to know whats out there, it’s not worth the risk… then we’d all still think the world was flat.

    Enoungh with religion BS. These experiments will help us discover and understand what’s around us everyday. Anything to help us understand what is out there is worth-while. To be able to defend ourselves from rogue comets/asteroids (which is a serious risk) is to give ourselves a fighting chance in the universe. And if your too ignorant to care about any of that, then just understand, that this experiment is only creating a very weak version what nature already creates and bombards the earth with every day.

    It’s science people… not voodoo magic, you can’t get something out of nothing, that is one constant in all of science. Anything they create won’t have the power to destroy the earth because it would take a whole Earth amount of power to do that.

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