chickenshoot (chickenshoot) wrote,
chickenshoot
chickenshoot

Hold on to yer butts...

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I've mentioned this before, but today they actually fired the thing up:

 
It's a whiz-bang experiment, with a downside that could really suck

Graham Phillips
April 13, 2008

WILL the world end later this year? In mid-August, in a chamber deep underneath the Swiss-French border, physicists will switch on a machine that might produce the first man-made black holes. Normally only found in outer space, these high-gravity objects have a reputation for devouring all matter in their vicinity — and they only stop when the food runs out. Could the Earth's first black hole also end up being its last, after it sucks in the chamber, the physicists, and the entire planet?

The possibility has had some press lately because two people are so concerned by this whoops-apocalypse scenario they've taken legal action against CERN, the European agency doing the experiment. The two litigants claim researchers haven't done the appropriate risk assessments for this mother of all science experiments.

The experiment will be carried out with the most powerful atom-smasher ever built — the Large Hadron Collider. In a few months' time, the machine will push bunches of subatomic particles round and round a 27-kilometre-long ring at almost light speed, and then bring them into a head-on collision. Rising from the debris of the impact, according to some theories, could be minuscule black holes.



Now, the CERN scientists calculate that the baby black holes' existence will be fleeting. So fleeting, in fact, they'll evaporate almost the instant they form, long before they've had a chance to gobble down the collider or any physicists. (Although they will hang around long enough for measurements to be made, allowing researchers to make some remarkable discoveries about the cosmos.)
The physics community says the chance of the particle accelerator inadvertently becoming some sort of doomsday device is almost zero. But the interesting thing is, the probability is not exactly zero, so critics argue the possibility can't be ruled out absolutely.





Hey, I really never thought I'd hear about someone trying to sue to stop the creation of a black hole.

Black hole lawsuit

New York
April 2, 2008

A giant particle accelerator that mimics the effects of the Big Bang could destroy all life on Earth by sucking it into a black hole, a lawsuit claims.

Two men have asked for an injunction to prevent the European Centre for Nuclear Research from starting up the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle smasher, later this year.

 

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