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14 TRILLION Electron-Volt Collider Could Unlock Secrets of the Big Bang . . . Or Destroy the Planet?
This story features yet another example of MAD SCIENCE. Have you even heard of this new particle accelerator? It's enormous and at full power will blast subatomic particles at each other with a full 14 TRILLION ELECTRON-VOLTS of power! As the video clip at the end of this article states:
"We have built a machine that exceeds our powers of prediction."
In other words, they don't know what the hell will happen.
They want to recreate the Big Bang for crying out loud. Oh, great idea. Just as good as blasting animal gene sequences into plant DNA then release them into the food supply. Or that nifty Antenna array up in Alaska HAARP that blasts BILLIONS OF GIGA-WATTS into the upper atmosphere.
Scientists routinely engage in reckless experiments, harnessing unbelievable amounts of energy, messing with the very DNA of life and they can't guarantee possibly know the outcomes. Let's just see what happens! It is really getting out of hand because the current level of technology allows scientists to dabble with the actual building block of life itself, which opens the door to vast implications that have never before had to be considered. And they typically act like "it's no big deal." Or as Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman would say, "What me worry?"
The following 27 minute interview is with a former nuclear safety officer, Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho have filed a lawsuit to stop this colider from starting up until a complete public debate and environmental study has been conducted in order to determine the real risks we all face and whether or not it's worth it. As usually, the bulk of those scientists backing this colider ridicule these two for wasting everyone's time with nothing but science fiction fears. I don't know. I personally think the questions they raise should be voiced and there should be a public debate when atoms are going to be hurled at each other with 14 TRILLION ELECTRON-VOLTS of power!
These are the basic concerns about what the collider could actually produce:
The big question isn't whether or not Wagner and Sanchos are right or not. The big question are these people certain it won't happen? Is the slightest chance worth the potential price we are all going to have to pay and shouldn't we all have a say it? This is not an issue of fiddling with some chemicals in a lab. This is screwing with the very stuff of all life. It's about creating black holes for crying out loud!
- Runaway black holes: Some physicists say the LHC could create microscopic black holes that would hang around for just a tiny fraction of a second and then decay. Sancho and Wagner worry that millions of black holes might somehow persist and coalesce into a compact gravitational mass that would draw in other matter and grow bigger.
- Strangelets: Smashing protons together at high enough energies could create new combinations of quarks, the particles that protons are made of. Sancho and Wagner worry that a nasty combination known as a stable, negatively charged strangelet could theoretically turn everything it touches into strangelets as well.
- Magnetic monopoles: One theory suggests that high-energy particle collisions might give rise to massive particles that have only one magnetic pole - only north, or only south, but not the north-south magnetism that dominates nature. Sancho and Wagner worry that such particles could be created in the LHC and start a runaway reaction that converts atoms into other forms of matter.
Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
As the world's largest and most expensive science experiment, the new particle accelerator buried 300ft beneath the Alpine foothills along the Swiss French border is 17 miles long and up to 12 stories high. It is designed to generate temperatures of more than a trillion degrees centigrade.
# Watch: Footage of the world's largest particle collider
The £4.4 billion machine - the Large Hadron Collider - is aiming to unlock the secrets of how the universe began.
Scientists will use it to try to recreate the conditions that existed just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the birth of the universe, by smashing pieces of atoms together at high speed.
The new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider
The collider is designed to recreate the conditions
that existed immediately after the Big Bang
The Sunday Telegraph joined the scientist Peter Higgs, a professor of particle physics at Edinburgh University, whose 40-year-old theories about an elusive particle known as the Higgs boson may finally be proved as part of the huge experiment, as he toured the site for the first time This weekend will be the last time visitors will be given access to the tunnel that houses the accelerator ring.
From tomorrow, it will be completely closed off while technicians make the final preparations before it is turned on in July when, it is hoped, it will begin revealing what the matter and energy that created the universe was really like. What happens afterwards could change our understanding of the world.
Most experts believe the explosions created when the particles hit each other will reveal the basic building blocks of everything around us. There are some, however, who fear it could destroy the planet.
A lawsuit filed last week by environmentalists in Hawaii is seeking a restraining order preventing the European Nuclear Research Centre from switching it on for fear it could create a black hole that will suck up all life on Earth.
"The Large Hadron Collider is like a time machine that is going to take us further back towards the Big Bang than we have ever been before by recreating the conditions that existed there.
"We are going to see new types of matter we haven't been able to see before," said Professor Frank Close, a particle physicist at Oxford University.
"The idea that it could cause the end of the world is ridiculous."
Housed in a subterranean lair that would provide a suitable home for a Hollywood super-villain, it is hardly surprising there are conspiracy theories surrounding the work being carried out on the collider.
The tunnel is large enough to drive a train through and so long that the curve is barely noticeable. To reach it requires a two-minute lift journey from ground level. Down below the scene is a mass of cables, tubes, electronics and metal panels.
Atomic particles will spiral though a series of rings, lined with powerful magnets that will accelerate the particles till they reach close to the speed of light. Each particle will race around the 17-mile route 11,245 times every second before being smashed headlong into each other, breaking them into their component parts, releasing huge amounts of energy and debris.
The temperatures produced by these collisions will be 100,000 times hotter than the centre of the sun and scientists believe this will be powerful enough to reveal the first particles that existed in the moments immediately after the birth of the universe.
How It Will Work
This massive experiment will create more than 15 million gigabytes of data every year - the equivalent of 21.4 million CDs. The scientists have had to design a new form of the internet to cope with the data.
Six separate detectors have been positioned around the collider ring to allow scientists to examine what happens.
Among the particles they will hunt for is the Higgs boson, a cornerstone of modern physics that is thought to be responsible for giving every other particle its mass, or weight.
Immediately after the Big Bang all particles are thought to have had no mass. As the temperature cooled, the Higgs boson "stuck" to them, making them heavy. Some particles are more "sticky" than others and so gain more weight.
A massive detector known as Atlas is among those that will be hunting for the Higgs boson. As big as Canterbury Cathedral and weighing more than 100 747 jumbo jet aircraft, it is one of the most impressive parts of the collider.
Professor Jonathan Butterworth, a physicist at University College London who is among the UK scientists involved in the Atlas experiment, said: "If we find the Higgs boson then it will prove our standard model of particle physics.
"If we don't find it then nature may have another way of giving particles mass and that is going to turn science on its head."
Two elevator rides and a 10-minute car journey away on the other side of the giant accelerator, another part of the experiment, dubbed Alice, will recreate the superheated gas, or plasma, that existed when the universe was formed. The collider may also reveal more exotic phenomena such as anti-matter, the opposite of ordinary matter, mini black holes and even extra dimensions.
"At the level of energy we will be creating normal matter doesn't exist. I expect we will see some things that are entirely new and could turn our current understanding of physics on its head," said Dr David Evans, a physicist from Birmingham University who has been working on the Alice project.
"Answering these new questions will be more exciting than proving theories that already exist."