Monday, 11 August 2008

Not a doomsday science experiment

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On the 10th September the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva will be started up for the first time. This machine, 13 years in the making and costing nearly £5 billion, has a 27km long accelerator which will cause beams of protons to smash into each other with such force that the conditions moments after the Big Bang will be reproduced, and it is hoped that so-far theoretical particles will be produced and confirmed to exist by scientists.

Also during this experiment it is said that miniature black holes might be produced, a matter that has caused much public debate. However according to scientists there is no chance, as some people believe, that these miniature black holes will fail to instantly evaporate. If they didn’t we could have a problem, as the doubters say that they could become trapped in the earth’s gravitational field, and slowly start to absorb the earth’s mass until they grow in size and swallow the planet whole. Fortunately a spokesman from the LHC reassures us that, “A year from now, the world will still be here”. A botanist, and occasional physicist, from Hawaii disagrees and claims that the LHC will rip a hole in the space time continuum, throwing the earth into a parallel universe and destroying it, and so is suing the company that is producing the LHC – CERN.

So when the machine is turned on in a few weeks time, while a few eccentrics are hiding deep underground, the rest of us will be outside wondering where the summer has gone, and what is going on at Geneva.


Wotnogod? said...

Let's hope the LHC is a success (I believe the elusive Higgs Boson particle would be deemed 'a result').

There's a great piece on the LHC in National Geographic, by the way, published within the last 12 months.

While it'll do little more than confirm some theories, it will prove that phycisists are headed in the right direction. It'll mean the maths is right, and we can move on (or rather even further 'back' in time).

If not, it's back to the drawing board.

But, that's the point - science is intellectually honest enough to acknowledge its errors, and, if necesary, to find other avenues down which to pursue 'the truth'.