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Old 10-11-2008, 06:39 AM
 
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Default Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and the highest-energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons, from hydrogen atoms stripped of their electrons, or lead ions, two of several types of hadrons, at over 99.999999% of the speed of light.

The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the sparticles predicted by supersymmetry. It lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border between the Jura Mountains and the Alps near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
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S.Peter Davis wrote

Scientists are kind of pissed that they weren't around when the Big Bang happened. Here we had an event that holds all of the secrets to reality, and we missed it because we were lazy enough not to evolve for another 13 billion years.

The solution, science says, is to make it happen again. They assure us that they can stage a new Big Bang if they smash some protons together really, really f-ing hard. In fact, they can make a million of them per second, which is 999,999 more than God managed.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Well, first imagine an apocalyptic nuclear holocaust. Multiply that by about one hundred and twenty thousand billion, and then multiply that by around the neighborhood of infinity. That equals around one eighth of the magnitude of the Big Bang. Nevertheless, scientists are pretty sure they can contain their Big Bang in an erlenmeyer flask, just so long as they remember to cork it

So, Basically It's Like...

Imagine you have a huge tanker truck parked outside a children's hospital. You don't know what's inside it, but you're fairly confident that it's either a cure for cancer, or 20,000 gallons of explosive nitroglycerin. To find out which, you have to shoot at it with an AK-47.

How Long Have We Got?

Meet the Large Hadron Collider.

This is not only the largest particle accelerator ever built, it's the largest anything ever built. Originally set to come online in 2005, then delayed until September 2008, the LHC will fire very small objects around its 17-mile circumference at close to the speed of light, before smashing the poop out of them and watching what comes out.

The problem, of course, is that even the eggheads don't really know what's going to happen, which is sort of why they're doing it in the first place. That's also why a lawsuit was filed to put a stop to it. Scientists on the LHC project insist there is no danger, and predict that the resulting observations could revolutionize science and send us into a golden age of knowledge, in the event that we actually survive.


Experts assure us that based on everything we know about science, the chances of doom are fairly slim. Experts also say LHC will change everything we know about science. So there is a certain chance that one of the brand new things they learn about the LHC is that the LHC has the ability turn the entire planet into a fine cloud of particles.

Now Meet Strange Matter.

As you've probably worked out by now, there's some weird crap out there in the world of science. That's because a whole lot of the fundamental theories about reality are based on mathematical equations rather than actual observation. So there are all sorts of things out there that seem to exist in theory, but we've never seen them. At least one scientist has suggested that if we ever saw them with our own eyes, it's likely that we would start screaming and never stop. Well, it wasn't so much a scientists as HP Lovecraft.

Anyway, Strange matter is one of these things. It's a hypothetical material made up of quarks, which are one of the building blocks of reality, things so small that you can't even possibly imagine. Seriously, don't even try to think about it.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

There are two hypotheses about strange matter. One is that the stuff will simply disappear a fraction of a second after it appears. The other is that it will stabilize and convert every atom it comes in contact with into more strange matter. It could go either way, really.

There's a theory that there are entire stars out there in the universe that are made out of strange matter, just because a microscopic fragment of the stuff made contact once and then everything went to hell.

Now imagine, just theoretically, if some of this strange matter should appear on Earth. And, just theoretically, it should be stable enough to start a reaction with regular matter. Theoretically, we'd all be f-ing dead.

So, Basically It's Like...

Imagine you're like the fabled King Midas, and you have the power to convert matter with a single touch. Except that instead of gold, everything you touch turns into poop. And everything it touches turns to poop. Before you know it, the whole world is poop, and it's all your fault.

How Long Have We Got?

Luckily for us, strange matter can only be created in high-energy particle collisions, and nothing like that ever happens here, right? Oh, wait.

Meet the Large Hadron Collider. Again.

That's right, our friends at the LHC project expect a lot of weird things to pop up when they start smashing atoms together, and strange matter is one such possibility. That's why scientists have written papers with boring titles such as Will Relativistic Heavy-ion Colliders Destroy Our Planet?, the rebuttals to which were basically, "Let's turn them on and find out!"

At this point we're kind of wondering whether there's anything this machine can do that doesn't involve killing you and everyone you care about.

Risk Level: 5 of 10

Scientists respond to the strange matter problem by saying if it was ever going to happen, it would have happened already (since these kind of reactions happen a zillion times a second in our atmosphere anyway). We like to call this piece of rhetoric the cop-out hypothesis, because they know damned well that if it turns out they're wrong, there won't be anyone left to sue them.

Now there's time travel.

Hundreds of stories have been written on the subject of time travel, and just about every one of those stories involves some kind of catastrophic disaster, or at the very least, an unhappy ending.

Of course, a lot of physicists think that it's not possible at all, and that the very existence of the universe proves it. Also, if they invent time travel in the future, where are the time travelers?

But there's one lingering theory about the possibility of time travel that kind of makes a lot of sense, and that's that it's not possible until we actually build a working time machine. Maybe you can only travel back as far as the technology actually exists, and after that it's all hovering skateboards and flying steam trains.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Of course, there are plenty of ways in which the universe can f us for daring to violate that most fundamental of laws, cause and effect. We can't even imagine them until we know the first thing about time travel, which we don't. But some speculate that the very attempt to travel back in time could result in the world exploding, imploding, collapsing, shrinking into a singularity, or simply disappearing.


But because we strive to bring you only the weirdest of possibilities, so consider the chronological collapse scenario.

In the distant future, when the stars have burned out and the planets have wobbled out of their celestial orbits, the descendents of humanity will be staring extinction in the face, and if they have access to a goddamn time machine then it's likely they're going to say "f--- this shit" and just return to a more comfortable point in history.

A flood of refugees from the future might set up home in the present and flourish, until the world ends again and they decide to do what worked last time. And again. And again. Effectively, the moment we switch on our very first time machine, our universe is going to be home to approximately infinity refugees from the future. You do the math.

So, Basically It's Like...

This: YouTube - A Train in Japan- Reserved Seats...

How Long Have We Got?

Meet the Large Goddamn Hadron F-ing Collider.

Again? What the f? Are they doing this on purpose?

OK, so there may be like a dozen ways the LHC can destroy the universe, but seriously, time travel?

Well, yes, according to some Russian scientists. Sure, there are no serious plans in motion to research into building time machines, but who says it has to be deliberate? The discovery of penicillin was a complete accident.

The theory is that the LHC might open wormholes with its high-energy collisions that future generations can manipulate for time travelling purposes. Apparently it's possible that those Swiss eggheads will switch on the machine only to find a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger asking for their clothes.

Risk Level: 7 of 10

You may be thinking, "If we get a time machine, and realize it will destroy the universe, then all we'd have to do is travel back in time and destroy the time machine! Easy!"

But then... if we destroyed the time machine, then we wouldn't be able to go back in time... so the machine would remain intact, in which case we could use it to go back and... Look, we don't know.

Okay now before you freak out that were all doomed. The eggs heads did a study. Many in fact. The upcoming experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have sparked fears among the public that the LHC particle collisions might produce doomsday phenomena, including dangerous microscopic black holes and strange matter. Two CERN-commissioned safety reviews have examined these concerns and concluded that the experiments at the LHC present no danger and that there is no reason for concern, a conclusion expressly endorsed by the American Physical Society, the world's second largest organization of physicists.

So were good right? I'd say so. What say you?

Last edited by Catfur; 08-04-2010 at 04:11 AM. Reason: language
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

I've been waiting for them to finish building it and turn it on for a while now. I think It"ll be fascinating to read about the things we learn by slamming sub atomic particles at nearly immeasurable speed. The theoretical "wormholes" would also be at the sub atomic level and would not allow someone to hop in and blow up the world yesterday or allow and endless cycle of doomed future refugees to come through. They're not creating a Big Bang on the scale that started the universe, they plan on learning what happened in the first nanoseconds of the universe by colliding a few particles and seeing what happens when something has that much energy.
I'm not saying there aren't any risks involved, but doubt a black hole will sprout up because of it. I wouldn't compare the LHC project to the Manhattan project, but we saw what happened last time there was a breakthrough in atomic science...
Regarding the truck filled with either with the cure for cancer or 20,000 gallons of nitroglycerin, (as long as it's a 50-50 chance) it would be worth the gamble. More kids will die from cancer than could fit into the hospital..
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

I saw something on Tv awhile back about someone building a time machine with lasers, but about this thing, we don't even know if they can get it to work.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

My wife said something really cool. Wouldn't it be great if the original big bang was caused by a previous civilization's LHC! The irony would be epic.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

That would be funny. Well - we wouldn't know a thing would we?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cindre2000 View Post
My wife said something really cool. Wouldn't it be great if the original big bang was caused by a previous civilization's LHC! The irony would be epic.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bussardnr View Post
I saw something on Tv awhile back about someone building a time machine with lasers, but about this thing, we don't even know if they can get it to work.
They actually fired it up a few weeks back and ran a few tests. The article explains what they did.
http://www.computerworld.com/action/...c=news_ts_head

Last edited by andre2000lb; 10-11-2008 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

heres an article about the laser thing,
Quote:
So here's the question: How come you're still here to go back in time and pester the old man? The simplest answer, explains Professor Ronald Mallett, is that you can't go somewhere else in time and make changes that will affect your present. The dynamics predicted by quantum theory won't let you.
The story is called the "Grandparent Paradox" and it's no parlor game. Among scientists who ponder the possibility of time travel, it's a classic conundrum. According to quantum theory, practically an infinite number of possibilities exist simultaneously. If you traveled through time, you could encounter yourself in any of the alternative scenarios, but you could not alter the flow of your own space-time continuum. It's physically impossible.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:17 AM
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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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Old 10-12-2008, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

Dave,

I'd say science education of the general public is appalling and people will believe almost anything.

That aside, surely you have seen the CERN rap?
News - Telegraph TV

Best,

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Old 10-12-2008, 02:32 AM
 
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

I did catch that. I think the whole thing is cool. I had a co-worker send me the above article and is convinced the thing is a doomsday device made to kill us all. I am constantly amazed at how people can buy into BS with the flimsiest of evience. I did some looking up on the thing because I only read about it's existance from reading Angel's and Demons a year ago. It's cool stuff, too bad some of the data takes years to crunch.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:07 AM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

No worries at all....

Im pretty sure my daily commute is much more of a risk...

The key here again is the media... Rather than explain the benefits of a device like this they explain the extremely rare chance that something bad could happen... Why? its simple... RATINGS!

All I can say is that at one point they thought the world was flat... It took people questioning those before them to prove otherwise.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

Is it wrong that I actually find the train in japan video more appauling than the device that was created.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

Hahaha...
I have to agree with Trow
that was so F'n wrong...
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

get Geraldo Rivera to cover this i think its another Al Capone’s vault , all that money all that time all that effort , it would be damn funny if nothing happened .

and about the midas thing turning everything they touch to poo , lots of people already have this "gift" look around us we all know people that turn everything and everyone they get near to poo.

were lucky here in canada our hockey helmets that were wear all the time and the igloos we live in will save us all, the over abundance of beer will help us in the cross breeding of humans and moose that will be needed to repopulate after the black hole gobbles us up.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:24 AM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

It's an incredible endevour and I hope that they find all that they hope to and then some with the huge amounts of money that our goverment and many others have put into it! It's so hard to wrap my brain around anything in the field of physics! If I could have one selfish wish it would be that I could understand any of the theories that the great eggheads come up with (Quantum physics, String theory, multiple universe ect). The only theory that I begin to understand is the Chaos theory, look at Wall street!!! Suposedly the LHC is suposed to answer some of these. I have a subscription to Discover magazine and some of the articles they have (including the Hadron collider) just boggle me. Stephen Hawkings "A Brief History of Time" was supposed to be a 'Physics for Dummies' but I had a hell of a time with it. Anyway, I don't thing that the Hadron will create an 'Black Hole' that will suck the earth in like some of the protesters are yelling about.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Are you afraid of the large hadron collider?

I'm taking bets that the LHC will not cause the end of the world. I'm giving 50:1 odds. If you want a piece of the action just let me know.
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