- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Next Wednesday, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland will switch on the $6 billion Large Hadron Collider, a 27-kilometer particle accelerator that will create physical conditions that haven’t existed in the universe since the big bang. It all sounds totally awesome, unless you’re one of the very few people who think that the LHC will create a black hole that will expand to consume the planet.
Opponents of the LHC have filed suits in Hawaii and the European Court of Human Rights seeking to prevent the historic experiment, but it’s highly unlikely that the court will take action. Scientists involved in the project have also been receiving death threats.
According to a newly released report, naturally occuring cosmic rays regularly produce more powerful collisions than the LHC, so the fact that we’re even alive to worry about this is a good sign. Cory Doctorow quotes one physicist saying, “Look, it’s a 10^-19 chance, and you’ve got a 10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving.”
So we can be pretty confident that the end of the world is not coming next Wednesday. But just in case, it’s been great blogging for you all.
(Hat tip: Chris Blattman)