The Hadron Collider

The End of Life as We Know It?

by Bill Georgevich

hadron collider atoms
Photo credit: Public Domain

The Large Hadron Collider will not bring the End of Life as we know it - but there are some other things that might....

The completion of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe will not bring the 'End Times' even if Da Vinci Code novelist Dan Brown has written about it and Google made a cartoon of the LHC on their search home page.

The Large Hadron Collilder, or LHC, will do for atomic physics what the Space Telescope did for astronomy - over time enlarge our understanding of the basic make-up of the universe. The LHC will shed light on basic questions like:

Are there extra dimensions, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we "see" them?

What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?

Why is gravity so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces?

The LHC issue involving "the End Times" revolves around the hypothesis that min-black holes created in the powerful new atom smasher would grow, sucking in & annihilating our entire planet. Because these scenarios occur naturally in the cosmos without such ill-effect, there is no reason to think it will happen in the laboratory, where energy concentrations are actually lower than in outer space.

Stopping science from these experiments is similar to the old saying, "If God had intended man to fly he would have given him wings." When I was a kid in the 50’s & suggested to adults there would be men on the moon in the next 15 years they patted me on the back & said, "Sure son, keep reading you SciFi writers like Willey Ley." And yet, we did go to the moon mainly because the US was terrified of a Russian military base firing nuclear warheads from low moon gravity easily to earth targets, while the US, stuck on earth, tried vainly to escape the earth's gravity & fight back.

Turned out the Russians, who couldn't build a reliable color TV, were just as inept at developing a heavy lifting rocket to take cosmonauts to the moon. Then the Soviets ran out of money. And like the fox and the sour grapes decided that, after orbiting the first rocket around the dark side of the moon (all dark side lunar features have Russian names), sending Russians to the moon wasn't that important after all. The U.S. agreed and humankind has been stuck in low earth orbit ever since.

After all this reassurance, I did promise you some things to worry about. Here are 2 things that will End Life as You Know It:

  1. The continuing hegemony of fossil fuels not only contributes to global warming but also concentrates the world's wealth to a highly undesirable and sometimes fundamentalist few.

    Space-based solar power, unlimited energy from the Sun. Learn more here.

  2. You can go green and conserve all non-renewable resources till the cows come home, but unless we humans volunteer to curb our procreation, the scourge of the Earth will be too many of ourselves.

    Zero Population Growth Learn more here.

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