Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The LHC is Declared Safe

The LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG), (seriously that's what 's called) has released their report that is an update of an earlier report released in 2003. A summary by the European Organization for Nuclear Research can be found here. The report addresses concerns ranging from the creation of mini-black holes that could "gobble up the earth" to the creation of strangelets.

Their basic argument comes down to this: "Over the past billions of years, Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists. Astronomers observe an enormous number of larger astronomical bodies throughout the Universe, all of which are also struck by cosmic rays. The Universe as a whole conducts more than 10 million million LHC-like experiments per second. The possibility of any dangerous consequences contradicts what astronomers see - stars and galaxies still exist."

In other words: The universe has not ceased to exist, therefore it will continue to exist. Hmmm, novel thought.

The release of this report has given the Department of Energy some ammunition to respond to a lawsuit filed in Hawaii back in March to force the Federal Government to cease operations at CERN. A news article about the lawsuit can be read here. Basically their response is that the federal government does not have jurisdiction in this case and cannot force CERN to not turn on the LHC, and also there has been no credible objection to conducting the experiment as "the claims of potential injury are 'overly speculative and not credible'".

So the LHC can go ahead and do its stuff and we can rest easy knowing that if the earth is destroyed because of the LHC someone somewhere will get some pleasure thinking "I told them so!" milliseconds before they are sucked into a black hole, or converted into a strangelet.

1 comment:

  1. What, I don't get to finally see what exists at the center of a black hole? Aw man, this is terrible news.


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