Tuesday, September 2, 2008

End of the World?

Reminds me a little of some bad science-fiction plots.

On September 10th, 3am (ET), the world's largest super-collider will fire up for its first shot. It will fire protons around a 17 mile circumference ring and smash them into each other . . .

. . . Just to see what happens.

One thing that could happen is the creation of microscopic Black Holes. Black Holes which could grow and devour the earth.

1 comment:

Greg said...

I've been meaning for a while to call attention to Alan Boyles columns. This earlier one:
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/25/1167531.aspx
got me started, and today there's a column by Ron Bailey on the same idea:
http://www.reason.com/news/show/128492.html
For some really stunning pictures of the beast, check out this:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/god-particle/achenbach-text
Between the extreme possibilities of "nothing to see here" and "sucking the earth into a black hole" (how long will that take? seconds?, minutes?)there is a range of minor scale disasters--maybe "only" a 500 mile wide smoking crater where Switzerland used to be.
I'm impressed by the scale of the thing: a beam only a couple microns wide with the inertia of a 400 ton train going 165 miles per hour.