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Old 10-12-2008, 12:17 AM
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Catfur Catfur is offline
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

On 15 Oct, 1991 over Utah, the earth was struck by what was believed to be a single proton with a kinetic energy of ~50J (3x20^20 electron volts), the amount of energy equivalent to 95mph fastball (it was dubbed the Oh-My-God Particle). This proton was traveling in excess of 99.9999999999999999999995% (that's a lot of nines) of the speed of light (fast enough, that in a race with a photon, after a year it would only be 50 nanometers behind the photon). 15 similar events have been recorded since then. It's very difficult to detect these events, so scientists estimate that they occur rather regularly.

The LHC is capable of flinging protons around in a circle with maybe 7Tev (7 x 10^12 ev), so the Oh-My-God Particle, and similar cosmic rays had roughly 40 Million times more energy than any collision occurring in the LHC. If the LHC were capable of generating some strange, earth destroying cataclysm, it would long since have happened from the bombardment of cosmic rays.
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