Have you noticed the seemingly unending stream of articles and conjecture concerning the celebrated particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider? The most recent comes from the UK Telegraph, and concerns a teenaged schoolgirl who sought to have underage sex and to lose her virginity before the Collider brought about the end of the world. She didn't want to die without at least trying it. Makes sense.
Prior to starting up the LHC in 2008, Stephen Hawking and other scientists pointedly denied claims that the accelerator would produce a black hole which would annihilate the planet. "Ridiculous!" you say. But the revered and distinguished physicist Albert Einstein set forth some principles that reinforce that Armageddon-inducing possibility.
The Hadron Collider is a 17-mile long circular tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland, built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to magnetically propel small gold particles to a speed approaching the speed of light, this in a vacuum environment at cold space temperatures — temperatures near absolute zero. The small particles would be moving at those light speeds, in opposite directions, with the intent of a collision, which would be photographed and studied, to provide information related to the Big Bang, black holes, and various other theoretical phenomena.
During September of 2008, the Collider ran into a problem when a faulty electrical connection between two of its magnets caused a malfunction in the cooling system that subsequently led to a helium leak. Now, after extensive repair, we are told the Collider will again be up and running by the end of 2009, possibly during this month of September.
What, you may ask, is all this talk about Armageddon? The 21st century scientists who developed the colossus tell us we have nothing to fear from banging particles together at light speeds. I fail to be calmed. When scientists first split the atom there was concern that we may burn a hole through the planet. Now that we are colliding particles head-on, instead of splitting, some have registered similar fears.