Can we say that the LHC isn’t going to destroy the world yet?
Last night, our list of the Worst Predictions for 2009 went live, featuring notables including Rahm Emanuel, George Soros, John Bolton and — for the second straight year — Charles Krauthammer. Posting this year’s edition also provided an opportunity to look back at last year’s list — particularly the unfinished business of the Large Hadron ...
Last night, our list of the Worst Predictions for 2009 went live, featuring notables including Rahm Emanuel, George Soros, John Bolton and — for the second straight year — Charles Krauthammer.
Posting this year’s edition also provided an opportunity to look back at last year’s list — particularly the unfinished business of the Large Hadron Collider — the massive particle accelerator in Switzerland. Last year, we put Dr. Walter L. Wagner of Citizens Against the Large Hadron Collider on the list for his prediction about the apocalyptic consequences of activating the LHC. (Wagner’s website also made Newsweek‘s list of the worst predictions of the decade, along with three other examples from last year’s FP list). Here’s the prediction:
“There is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions. These events have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and destroy our planet.”
An irate Wagner wrote and called in to point out that, at that point, the particle collisions that he was worried about hadn’t actually taken place because of technical problems with the LHC.
All year I’ve been dreading the possibility that the first LHC collisions would generate black holes. First, because it would mean that I, and everyone I know and love would be dead, but mostly because Wagner’s prediction would be right. However, the LHC was finally fully activated in November and particle collisions began shortly afterward. This month the LHC set a new world record for energy levels created in a laboratory.
No black holes have yet been detected and Wagner’s website doesn’t appear to have been updated in over a year.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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