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Submission + - Large Hadron Collider sparks 'Doomsday' lawsuit 6

smooth wombat writes: In what can only be considered a bizarre court case, a former nuclear safety officer and others are suing the U.S. Department of Energy, Fermilab, the National Science Foundation and CERN to stop the use of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) until its safety is reassessed. The plaintiffs cite three possible 'doomsday' scenarios which might occur if the LHC becomes operational: the creation of microscopic black holes which would grow and swallow matter, the creation of strangelets which, if they touch other matter, would convert that matter into strangelets or the creation of magnetic monopoles which could start a chain reaction and convert atoms to other forms of matter.

CERN will hold a public open house meeting on April 6 with word having been spread to some researchers to be prepared to answer questions on microscopic black holes and strangelets if asked.
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Large Hadron Collider sparks 'Doomsday' lawsuit

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  • The scenarios are not completely bizarre and disconnected with possibile outcomes.

    These are issues which need to be honestly and openly addressed prior to CERN going operational on the Large Hadron Collider.

    The possibility of creating a micro-black hole is real. Of it escaping confinement is a definite risk. Of course, the models I have seen show it taking millions of years for a micro-black hole to cause harm, but perhaps there are alternate models.

    Hey, didn't David Brin address this in "Earth"?
    • Didn't Hawking write that it should be possible to harness a small black hole for energy generation purposes? That would be an interesting spinoff.
    • Concerning mini black holes, if Stephen Hawkings theories are accurate -- and there is no real reason to think otherwise, IMHO -- if one was, by chance, created, it would rapidly evaporate. Admittedly, the other scenarios are possible, but their likelihood is so vastly remote that they're barely worth considering, except as an interesting mental exercise. Stopping development based upon these would be like stopping development of a new CPU because of the minute probability that it would turn out to be consc
  • by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#22885848)
    The reality is that some theoretical physicists came up with this theory of miniblack holes and infinitely expanding strange matter. However, theorists come up with lots of crap.

    The reality is that particles from space with much higher energy than any accelerator could ever create strike the earth all the time. The accelerator is not going to do anything that is not happening all the time our earth's atmosphere, and everywhere else in the universe.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford