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Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/13/2007 11:33 PM

People both inside and outside of the physics community have voiced concern that the LHC might trigger one of several theoretical disasters capable of destroying the Earth or even our entire Universe. Each advance in particle accelerator technology exposes the stability of the very fabric of the universe to more stringent tests. RHIC has been running since 2000 and has generated no major problems; however the Large Hadron Collider is set to create an environment significantly more exotic than realized in the RHIC, and therefore the probability of catastrophe is greater.

Theoretical disasters include:

Anyone want to discuss this?

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider

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#1

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 2:42 AM

From which angle do you want to discuss this thing?

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#2

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 2:46 AM

So...is this another 'end of the world' switch? Don't worry, there will be another one along in a bit.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 4:00 AM

Quick, Igor! The red button!

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 5:30 AM

Button thur? thaths so 21st thentury thur, we only have...the switchth...

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#4

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 4:12 AM

Silly, even at the levels mentioned the universe would not be destroyed, the effects would only be local. Press the button mate and let's get it over with.

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#6

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/14/2007 11:26 PM

It doesn't sound like you guys have much concern, nor do I. I'm really looking for more info on how these scenarios are supposed to take place. So what if there was a miniature black hole inside the earth. How would that be bad? So what if some strange matter was created that is more stable that ordinary matter or magnetic monopoles were created. What would the result be? I can't imagine either of these in a runaway situation. Only the last one looks like a universe killer. I think it would be fast - we could be gone before we could be aware of it.

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#7

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 1:25 AM

The wiki article goes on to say: "Despite these concerns, a strong argument for the safety of colliders such as the LHC comes from the simple fact that cosmic rays with energies up to twenty million times the LHC's 1.4×10¹³ eV capacity have been bombarding the Earth, Moon and other objects in the solar system for billions of years with no such effects [12] [13]."

-----

This is an important factor to consider. No accelerator built nor even planned can begin to approach some of the energies seen in cosmic rays. The fact that these extremely energetic particles can exist and have been bombarding Earth for billions of years without having produced such dire effects as predicted for the LHC should be taken as evidence of the unlikelyhood of such an event, IMHO.

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#8

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 2:40 AM

That would be such a Beavis and Buthead moment. He-he-he, break it Buthead, break it! It is the perfect master villein plot to destroy the universe. Someone angry about their childhood eager for revenge would be all over that!

But really, how arrogant do we have to be to think that something we would do would destroy the universe? Humanity maybe, but the universe? Please!

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 3:28 AM

There is an old joke that asks, if there was a cave with an end of the world switch labeled up 'do not touch under any circumstances', it would be about 5 minutes before some said 'I wonder what this does?'

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 11:30 PM

... and push it!

When I was in high school, a kid charged up an electrolytic capacitor to 600 volts. He taped it to a door and labeled it "high voltage -- do not touch." A lot of kids touched it!

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 5:10 PM

probably only slightly more arrogant than those who think anything we do is outside of natural process and could destroy the earth.

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#23
In reply to #8

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

10/09/2009 12:36 PM

The question was if LHC might destroy the universe. The question was not if something we would do would destroy the universe. I like the language of the question because of how it acknowledges partly that human action is not the only directive force. While I do not think LHC might destroy the universe, the question is very relevant, because of how we are capable of being pervasively short-sighted in our assessment of what is happening.

You say we cannot destroy the universe. I agree absolutely. But technology certainly can destroy the universe. Maybe you should consider that there is no free will and the notion that we are directing anything at all is a gross fallacy. The universe as evolving technology drives us, and as technology it is absolutely capable of destroying itself. But we can certainly (still) break the chain by passive resistance.

As the question implies in case we do not have free will; is TLC a directive process? Is TLC indifferent to human life? Is it evolution? Is it the evolution of technology? Can we know what we are doing?

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#10

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/15/2007 10:15 AM

Tiny black hole? There was a science fiction story (an old one---A.C. Clarke, Bradbury or Asimov) where a tiny black hole was released from 15ft above the ground. Since there was no way to stop it, and the planet's matter provided no resistance to the ultra-dense black hole, the hole was destined to keep swinging back and forth throught the planet. Over the course of millions of years, there wouldn't be a planet, just an occilating black hole.

Typical of the time, it was a murder mystery!

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#13

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/18/2007 4:07 PM

A couple generations ago, when the hydrogen bomb tests were going to be done in the atmosphere, the physicists at that time were wringing their hands about a fear that this would destroy the world. It didn't, at least in the manner they were fearing.

-JMM

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/18/2007 4:19 PM

"It didn't, at least in the manner they were fearing."

So far...

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

08/22/2007 12:01 AM

Yes, you understood my unstated thought. Looking back on my post, I believe their worry was the destruction of the atmosphere.

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#16

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

09/28/2007 12:21 AM

Earthlings are gearing towards the development of the flying saucer, one which works on anti-gravity, flying in any direction by magnetic mapping without any moving parts, and on magnetic levitation and propulsion.

Along with superconductivity in the higher temperature scale, this will be realized.

tijit

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

10/30/2007 10:52 AM

Beam me up, I'm ready to leave. These people of earth are criminally insane.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

10/30/2007 11:07 AM

The only people who will destroy the world are accountants.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

10/30/2007 2:06 PM

But marketing people are also culpable. I can't see letting those dirt-bags off the hook. They are the evil front men.

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#17

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

10/30/2007 8:46 AM

I am principally ambivalent on this subject: so many 'end of the world' prophets came before this and I don't want to be in that camp. However, we are fast approaching the point in which we MUST conclude that our small, fragile biosphere is really no place to be experimenting with forces of such unpredictable magnitude, forces that created the universe or so they think, for what do we know? The whole big-bang theory has become a fait-accomplis, one that HAS to be true and all obstacles should be reasoned away with this theory in the sights. It has become as much of a dogma as creationism: you can't reason with followers of either doctrine. To them the goal is important, not the road that leads to it. Two discussions I've followed caught my attention: the statistical certainty that micro black-holes with sub-escape-velocity will be created given a couple of months of LHC running time. And the fact that in any new technology, a risk-assessment evaluation must be carried out and it has not, in this case, included the products of the LHC, just the construction itself. I could go on, but this not the place. I say Nay! Let us not for another half century at least try to tinker with this. It will not solve any of the greater problems we as the human race face right now. Andries

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Anonymous Poster
#21

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

03/29/2008 10:09 PM

Some of the smartest people in the world, are forgetting one small detail...... this wonderfully elaborate "test" to see how the universe was created still leaves the blank void of an answer to HOW the matter that caused the so-called "big-bang THEORY" came to be. However interesting as it may seem that somehow scientists involved in this study will know as fact that whatever occurs during this project is the instant re-play of creation, is nothing more than overactive imaginations and childhood wonders. The TRUTH of the matter is that NO ONE knows, nor will ever know, how the universe was created. Why are we stretching our minds for billion dollar tests based on theories, which will "do" nothing for the crisis our earth and the people who are living in it today? Instead of focusing our funds, intelligence, and lives toward a cause to prove to someone (?) that we have no meaning, why should we not be putting out efforts toward obvious attentions? Just accept God for who HE is and thank him that he is allowing you to be here this moment.

1 Corinthians 3:18-23

18 Don't fool yourselves! If any of you think you are wise in the things of this world, you will have to become foolish before you can be truly wise. 19 This is because God considers the wisdom of this world to be foolish. It is just as the Scriptures say, "God catches the wise when they try to outsmart him." 20 The Scriptures also say, "The Lord knows that the plans made by wise people are useless." 21-22 So stop bragging about what anyone has done. Paul and Apollos and Peter [a] all belong to you. In fact, everything is yours, including the world, life, death, the present, and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

07/26/2010 3:54 PM

"The TRUTH of the matter is that NO ONE knows, nor will ever know, how the universe was created. Why are we stretching our minds for billion dollar tests based on theories, which will "do" nothing for the crisis our earth and the people who are living in it today? Instead of focusing our funds, intelligence, and lives toward a cause to prove to someone (?) that we have no meaning, why should we not be putting out efforts toward obvious attentions? Just accept God for who HE is and thank him that he is allowing you to be here this moment."

Considering how much of humanities resources we invest in killing one another, enriching wealthy individuals who contribute nothing in the name of politics and gratifying petty needs I'm glad a relative pittance is being spent on something that may enlighten humanity.

There is no reason whatsoever regardless of whether the christian god exists to believe that our ignorance is inevitable. It merely seems so to you because you lack imagination.

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Anonymous Poster
#22

Re: Concern that the LHC might destroy the universe.

09/18/2008 2:42 PM

The hysteria over LHC has roots, especially in the American population, in a very scientifically illiterate public. Any actual threats to public safety represented by LHC are likely to be magnified by isolationalist and aggressive foreign policy.

American scientific ignorance and the LHC

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