Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Will The World End Tomorrow?...

When they turn on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN tomorrow will the world end? Will the search for the Higgs boson by colliding super fast tiny particles cause micro-black holes that will 'eat the planet'? Short answer. No. No way. Won't happen.

Why, you might ask, am I so sure? How do I know the world won't end tomorrow?

Is it because I have a blind faith in scientists who must know what they're doing? No, not really.

Is it because I actually know people who are involved in the LHC project back from university days and I trust them not to destroy the planet? I do. But, no.

Is it because I have studied particle physics at Cambridge University and know that it's virtually impossible? Well, no. Not that either. (I mean nothing is impossible, right? Quantum physics and all that.)

Is it because the LHC will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays i.e. if they were dangerous we would know about it already? No, not that either.

No, the real reason why I am so sure that the world will not end tomorrow is this. They are really only turning on the power tomorrow. It's just the first attempt to circulate a beam. The first counter-clockwise and clockwise collisions aren't scheduled until later in the year. So maybe we'll have to hang on just a little bit longer for the end of the world.

And even when things are up and running, it could be years before CERN start producing any meaningful results due to the challenges involved in detecting such tiny and fleeting particles. But you've got to admire their publicity machine.

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