At least that's what people behind a couple of lawsuits believe could happen when the world's biggest particle accelerator is fired up Wednesday. The accelerator, known as Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is the pride of CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) and is situated just outside Geneva on the border between Switzerland and France.
Walter Wagner, a former nuclear safety officer, and Spanish science writer Luis Sancho, have filed a civil suit in federal district court in Hawaii asking for a temporary restraining order to stop the researchers at CERN from switching on the LHC until further safety analyses are completed. In Europe, Professor Otto Rössler, a chemist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany filed a similar suit with the European Court of Human Rights.
So what's the accelerator up to on Wednesday? Well, it will collide protons at almost-the-speed-of-light and see what happens. Those trying to stop this say that vacuum bubbles, magnetic monopoles, microscopic black holes, or strangelets produced by the high-energy proton-proton collisions planned by CERN physicists could run amok and destroy the Earth.
"Don't be silly. That won't happen", is the answer from CERN. Although worded a bit different and lengthier in this press release.
So we'll see what happens Wednesday. But just in case: It's been nice writing this blog and thanks for reading this final(?) post.
Enough with the words! Let's have some music! As the Large Hadron Collider was being completed a few people at CERN got together with the idea of doing a song/rap explaining what the LHC does. Even Neb, who found physics hard to grasp in school, found this piece of art enlightening. And here it is:
CERN Rap from Will Barras on Vimeo.