CERN’s LHC particle accelerator to begin operating in May, 2008

Physics Risks Science

Update September 1, 2008: The LHC continues to ramp up to full production and the first attempt to circulate a beam of particles on September 10, 2008 will be broadcast live. See the full update here.

Update August 7, 2008: The LHC is scheduled to begin operation on September 10, 2008 and ramp up to full production in early 2009.

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is nearing completion of the world’s largest and most complex scientific instrument. The final element in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was lowered in place on January 22, 2008. The LHC is a particle accelerator which will be used to accelerate tiny particles to extraordinarily high velocities to observe their resulting transformation in collisions with one another. The facility is scheduled to begin operation in May, 2008. There have been a number of news articles in the past few years that have speculated on remotely possible catastrophic risks posed by the LHC.

One speculation is that the LHC will create miniature black holes. If this happened, standard physics theory expects that these black holes would evaporate very quickly due to Hawking Radiation. However, some have suggested a remote possibility that these miniature black holes would not evaporate, but would grow to consume the Earth within a short period of time.

Another highly unlikely possibility is that strangelets could be produced. Strangelets are hypothetical objects that are comprised of roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks. The concern is that these objects would begin to change other matter that they come in contact with into strange matter, resulting in a runaway process that converts the entire Earth to strange matter.

The consensus within the physics community is that the operation of the LHC is safe. Studies have been conducted which have analyzed the risks and concluded that these catastrophic scenarios are not credible. The official position of CERN is that experiments in particle accelerators are completely safe and the risks have already been adequately analyzed and dismissed in previous studies. A small minority, however, disagree. James Blodgett noted that Dr. Walter L. Wagner is so concerned about the existential risks of experiments to be conducted at the LHC that he is proceeding with an effort to initiate legal action against CERN to force it to conduct additional safety studies.

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7 thoughts on “CERN’s LHC particle accelerator to begin operating in May, 2008

  1. These things are best left alone you dont actualy know what will happen untill LHC is up and on full power I dont think you have the write to take the risk of destroying the earth or putting human life at risk We already have one collider in the states why not leave it at that as we know this one is safe your collider is 7 times the engery of the one in the states and there for shouldnt be powered up or powered up on full energy you should take you time you will get results in the end without puting human life at risk or the world at risk

  2. 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.
    And I’m sorry, but the “big-bang-theory”, is only just that….. a theory. As entertaining as it may seem that someone has the knowledge of the equations of time itself, it just isn’t plausible. You cannot realistically say that a few worldly educated persons(or anyone else for that matter) know with fact how the universe came to be. There is no composite understanding of black holes or much of anything else outside our solar system. There are plenty of assumptions and ideas, but no one can say with honesty that they fully understand what a black hole is and how they are formed, etc… I could go on for days with this subject, but I’ll save you the annoyance. If you want the truth of life itself, including a better understanding of the universe, please read the Holy Bible. As saturated and disperse as Christianity has become over the past 50 years, there are undeniable truths that cannot be dismissed. However upsetting to me it is, the truth is that our morals and standards of living, will continue to diminish as worldy clutter continues to obstruct our eyes away from the truth. More theories will appear based off false and misleading textbooks that will be replaced by more false information. And the result will be individuals who base life itself on sci-fi movies. This is a good place to remind you now, that NO check is valid, no document legal, no receipt accepted WITHOUT the admission (the date) of the greatest historical event in human history, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. So with that truth comes another. If we accept Jesus, then we accept the Bible. And THAT is the ONLY book here on this earth you will find any morsel of truth. Please stop with the obsurdness of trying to locate the so-called “God Particle”. If you haven’t seen HIM yet (LOOK AROUND!) then your attempts are futile. God Bless you all.

  3. Why do you people bother commenting? It has nothing to do with religion. What answers has your so called ‘god’ given us? While the hard working scientists give us real answers, enlightenment if you please. You are sitting in your house of ‘god’ blissfully ignorant of other peoples quest for the truth. I’m sure all the ‘gods’ of the world would rather we understood how the universe came to be rather than fight over who’s god to believe. Who said anything about a god particle anyway? And you said you would save us the annoyance, but you didn’t. To me you are just another preacher, feeding your propoganda to innocent people and causing this world more harm. I have never accepted ‘god’ and I’m still here, who are you to tell people what to believe? Oh yeah John from the first comment, grow some balls. The chances of anything bad happening are incredibly small.

  4. hmm, trying to find the origin of life? of the universe? ok, well, think of this, lets say u find what made the material that was in the big bang using ur machine. than what? what created THAT material? u can keep goin back, but u will find one of 2 things,that we truly came from nothing,, or that our creator, god, made all things come to be.

  5. i made a post ealier, rather short. i would like to make one, based soley on science, and not relgion*yes i am a christian* but maybe some scientist can answer some questin about LHC’s reason for being, to find the origion of matter and particles associated with the begining of the universe, this is what i get from online what LHC is made for. ill try my best, i’m not a scientist, i’m house wife,:) ok, LHC is a particle acclerator that is going to be used, if successful, to find out how particles are made. if u do find out, than what? the material in the big bang, not the event its self but the matter. scientifically, something can’t come from nothing, right? well if u find these particles, u will have to admit, at some point nothing exsisted, and some how, some particle just came into being, or mass of particles. so what force created them from absolute nothing? if it wasn’t nothing, than that means whatever it was has no explanation for being or reeason, it was just there. here’s my next question,, all things to exsist have to have an enviroment, right? the envirment for the big bang was the universe* i think i’m right* unless the big bang itself created the “black matter” so,,, what was theh orgins of this matter? again, u will find that at some point ,, it just came into being, and back to the big band material itself,,, that material, was it comoposed of inadimate mass? or did it contain both adamit*living* not sure of spelling, and inadmint objects. if it was all inadmint,, than what do tell, did cause a completely in admint material to just all of a sudden become adamint?? so,,, if science is right, and there is no basis for god,, than we wil have to admit,,,, at some point, something, whatever it was, came from nothing.

  6. Rose,
    Thanks for your comments – they are appreciated. I believe the core reason for the LHC’s existence is to understand matter and forces at the most basic level. Experiments that the LHC will perform will refute or confirm various theories. Scientific American has a list of the goals for the LHC here, recapped below:
    1) Reconfirm the standard model
    2) Search for the Higgs boson and its relationship to mass in various particles
    3) Search for new forces
    4) Search for dark matter candidates
    I don’t believe the LHC’s goal is to try answer the ultimate philosophical question of where particles and forces came from (I don’t know that it can do that), but to to better understand what particles and forces exist, and develop better theories of their relationships to each other.
    Best Regards,

  7. The GOAL my friends can only be spiritually discerned. One can only tell you everything about an apple ounce you have personally tasted it yourself, and not going by “theories” by the fools of this world. Man’s foundation based on evolution is fruitless because he cannot get the answers from nature because he has not got a relationship with the creator. The most inspired, infallible, incorruptible word of God which is the Bible tells you everything about how he “holds” everything together the shape of earth, air having weight, genetics etc, etc. The answer my friends is that this experiment has got nothing to do with particles banging each other which was created in the beginning in the first place. You have to be “born again” to get out of this “ape” mentality. We are living in the end times (which is exciting for christians) because the possibility of meeting our Lord Jesus in this lifetime is very real indeed. The “experiment” is just a “front” , a “cover up” for something deeper, deeper than the black hole. It’s going to be the weapon used by the “ANTICHRIST” for world domination. Go ahead satan, make my day. By the way , your ticket for everlasting life is guaranteed by having FAITH is our LORD and SAVIOUR.

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