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Large Hadron Collider Initialized – Earth Not Incinerated

Whether you’ve been keeping up with Science Friday, been to  The Google today, or stopped into your local online physics forum lately, you may have heard about the Large Hadron Collider — the “world’s largest atom smasher” which some said would create black holes that would gobble up the Earth. Well, first beam was today, and it appears that we are all still here.

First Beam A Success!
Despite arguments to the contrary, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland went off today for the first time and didn’t destroy the Earth! The hype was reminiscent of Y2K, but the odds that something catastrophic was actually going to happen were even lower.

“Our standard odds are 1,000,000/1, but anyone wanting longer or shorter odds is at liberty to take them. A number of customers took us up on our offer and have bet that the world will end as a result of the Large Hadron Collider experiment.”

The world-altering particle smashing won’t fully get going until around a year or so, which means that there’s plenty of time for you to see the new Star Trek movie next May. Phwew.


First beam broadcast live from the LHC in Geneva, Switzerland

What’s The Big Deal, Anyways?
So, world-ending atom smashing is great fun and all, but who cares about the LHC? Physicists, that’s who! Specifically, those studying the properties and nature of matter. Experiments at the LHC will allow physicists to complete a journey that started with Newton’s description of gravity. Gravity acts on mass, but so far science has been unable to explain the mechanism that generates mass. These experiments will hopefully provide the answer. In addition, LHC scientists will attempt to probe the mysteries of dark matter and antimatter in the universe – visible matter seems to account for just 5% of what must exist, while about a quarter is believed to be dark matter. In order to find the reason for nature’s preference for matter over antimatter, the LCH will probe matter as it existed at the very beginning of time, the big bang.


Scientists at the LHC watch as results come in from the first beam test





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I'm Captain Kirk... I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!
September 10, 2008 11:32 am

First! Glad to be alive.

richpit
September 10, 2008 11:32 am

Yippee! GO LHC!!

September 10, 2008 11:38 am

Um they are willing to risk 6 Billion lives on a Million to one odds? So what happens when the fire this thing for the 999,999 time?

September 10, 2008 11:40 am

Pish-posh. Such worry over nothing at all indeed. Much ado for naught as nothing is askew whatsoever.

Now, I humbly beg your pardons as I have to schedule my own large collision for this evening. I must make haste to purchase precautions so that I do not end up responsible for generating new mass nine months down the road.

Cheerio

September 10, 2008 11:41 am

Well, it will be about a year before the conditions exist in the thing that would make world annihilation possible. So we haven’t dodged that bullet yet.

Someone observed that human beings really go out of our ways to invent things that threaten our existence – nuclear weapons, the LHC, deep-fried twinkies-on-a-stick…

Thomas
September 10, 2008 11:41 am

Am I the only one who genuinely wasn’t worried?

September 10, 2008 11:45 am

I feel kind of like Moe from ‘The Simpsons’ after the noose broke…

September 10, 2008 11:49 am
September 10, 2008 11:50 am

Silly us not being concerned anymore… remember, leading sceptical physicists say it would take four years for the micro-black holes to be noticable… unless, of course, it punches through one of our left ventricles first…

Wind up the death clock everyone! The Aztecs were right! Armageddon is upon us! The End is Nigh! It’s a minute till midnight! Some of us demand four years of utter anarchy as we wait to be swallowed up by the black hole.

Hehehe… silly everyone!

Lord Garth, Master of the Universe
September 10, 2008 11:54 am

As long as the world is around long enough for Star Trek and Transformers 2 to come out first, I’m good.

Giuseppe
September 10, 2008 11:56 am

I wasn’t worried at all and I won’t be worried when LHC goes fully operational. I’m convinced the scientific world will learn new, wonderful things about Life, the Universe, and Everything :))

steve
September 10, 2008 11:57 am
steve
September 10, 2008 11:58 am

Someone observed that human beings really go out of our ways to invent things that threaten our existence – nuclear weapons, the LHC, deep-fried twinkies-on-a-stick…

———

And, Labradoodles. These are unnatural.

September 10, 2008 12:01 pm

Didn’t think for a minute that the world would be destroyed. I’m glad the first beam was a success.

Commodore Redshirt
September 10, 2008 12:02 pm

Am I still here?…
*(checking)*
Yes, it seems I am…
Well, one can’t travel at warp speeds without a massive energy source, so I guess this is good news…
Next stop: ANTI-MATTER!

It just sounds like the intro to an old Fantastic Four comic book story…
“…deep in his underground laboratory somewhere on the Franco-Swiss border…”

John from Cincinnati
September 10, 2008 12:14 pm

The microscopic black holes won’t accumulate into one big one until December 21, 2012.

NCC-73515
September 10, 2008 12:23 pm

If only they would spent that much money on other fields of research, too… perhaps brain research is a bit more important than nuclear physics…?

thebiggfrogg
September 10, 2008 12:26 pm

Is it just me or does this look like the STMP engine room?

Will
September 10, 2008 12:26 pm

Wow! We’re alive… who really thought THAT would happen? Surely, everyone who knows less about particle physics than those working on the LHC projects had proof positive that the world would end as soon as they flipped the switch! Thank the Lord that that flake Stephen Hawking was correct for a change……..

/end sarcasm

HiTrek Redneck
September 10, 2008 12:27 pm

I figure if the world ended as we know it, we wouldn’t be around to care anyway. So business as usual is my pound of cure for an ounce of worry…

Spectre_7
September 10, 2008 12:32 pm

Frakking Nay-sayers would rather hold back our full potential like 22nd century Vulcans and keep us out of space!

Go science!

Let’s get that warp core up and running already

Lyle
September 10, 2008 12:37 pm

A little-known quote from the scientist in charge of the LHC project:

“They used to say if man could fly, he’d have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to. Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn’t reached the moon, or that we won’t go on to Mars, and then to the nearest star someday? That’s like saying that you wished you still operated with scalpels and sewed your patients up with catgut like your great great great great grandfather used to. I’m in command. I could order this. But I’m not because those internet bloggers right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any project as fantastically advanced as this. But I must point out that the possibilities, the potential for knowledge and advancement is equally great. Risk… Risk is our business. That’s what this LHC is all about. That’s why we’re working on it!”

Ryan Thomas Riddle
September 10, 2008 12:46 pm

This is awesome cool. It’s great that trekmovie covers the science in science fiction.

Trekkie16
September 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Don’t worry, if it starts to melt down just call on Scotty or Geordi or Torres. If they can handle a warp core breach, I am sure an LHC blackhole would be an easy fix.

The Gorn Identity
September 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Dammit! Means I still have to go to work tomorrow….

MrLerpa
September 10, 2008 1:04 pm

I just worry about the source of those self-sealing stem bolts that they’ve used all over the place!!!

I hear it was some short guy with big ears and a foreign accent …

Izbot
September 10, 2008 1:06 pm

The Hadron Collider’s gonna destroy the earth??

Yeah and Cher’s gonna be Catwoman in the next Batman movie…

the king in shreds and tatters
September 10, 2008 1:08 pm

The first high-energy collisions aren’t scheduled until October…

John N
September 10, 2008 1:08 pm

I went to university for genetic engineering. One of the electives I took was ethics. This course disn’t discuss whether science COULD accomplish certain goals, but whether science SHOULD accomplish certain goals.

Did anyone notice the word “elective” in there? I had to CHOOSE to take a course on ethics.

Far too many scientists today are obsessed with moving forward because we can, often with very little thought about how the outcome of their experiments could have a domino effect on the rest of the world.

Some of you may not be worried about this, but we as a species don’t have a very good track record of living in harmony with the universe. Maybe you should pause and give things another thought.

September 10, 2008 1:13 pm

3: “Um they are willing to risk 6 Billion lives on a Million to one odds? So what happens when the fire this thing for the 999,999 time?”

I don’t know where that quote came from, but it sounds like it comes from some gambling site or something. It’s certainly not coming from any scientists, not unless they’re making a joke. The odds of something catastrophic happening are actually zero. The LHC isn’t doing anything that doesn’t happen in cosmic-ray collisions at the top of Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis, and elsewhere in the universe millions of times per day. If there were any nonzero chance of this destroying the planet, then planets and stars wouldn’t be able to exist in the universe. But they do, therefore the chances are zero. Indeed, the LHC isn’t even capable of generating as much energy as those cosmic-ray collisions. It’s just more controlled and accessible.

marv
September 10, 2008 1:17 pm

ha. This time next year:

Where’s Geneva?

Answer: Orbiting somewhere beside the Moon.

DFG333
September 10, 2008 1:18 pm

Well it’s been turned on but it’s not working at it’s full power yet. If I read it right at the cern site, that will take another two months.

The LEP that was there before that was trying to make anti-matter could not make enough to fill half a teaspoon but the LHC is on a bigger scale and doing different experiments.

TrekkyStar
September 10, 2008 1:24 pm

First: The population starts disappearing.
Second: Gravity goes to 2.47 G.
Third: Everyone begins to panic.
Fourth: Scientists blame the destruction of the Earth on the Xindi.

The Traveller
September 10, 2008 1:24 pm

I think at the precise moment that beam flashed on the screen (see video), our universe ceased to exist and we are now in a Mirror-Verse Alternate, ala Star Trek “Mirror Mirror”.

Check yourself for a mustache, and if you are now bent on world subjugation and domination, you’ll know why :)

The Traveller
September 10, 2008 1:31 pm

#22 Lyle: well said!!! :)

CmdrR
September 10, 2008 1:38 pm

This always happens. I buy a Medium Hadron Collider for 7 billion dollars and it’s not two months later they come out with a 9 billion dollar LARGE Hadron Collider. I just can’t win.

750 Mang
September 10, 2008 1:44 pm

“Impressive. They can make a planet.”

John from Cincinnati
September 10, 2008 1:50 pm

33. I hope the women have beards.

September 10, 2008 1:56 pm

It appears the entire planet was phased to the Mirror Universe. :P

COMMANDER KEEN
September 10, 2008 2:12 pm

#24 Trekkie16:

You forgot about Chief O’Brien! ;)

If you look at some of the machinery and just imagine it from high above the ground it almost resembles a big Dabo machine. Just need more Dabo girls and Quark!

Derf
September 10, 2008 2:42 pm

Damn :(

September 10, 2008 2:45 pm

That is the best headline ever, I laughed so hard when I read that. And guys, it isn’t going to kill us. I for one can’t wait until they start gathering data!

Irishtrekkie
September 10, 2008 3:18 pm

http://www.hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/

hahahahah that site is brilliant , look at the source code for it lol

if (!(typeof worldHasEnded == “undefined”)) {
document.write(“YUP.”);
} else {
document.write(“NOPE.”);
}

And the LHC is pimp , i know the Physicists here in dublin are going to be getting alot of the data , from the grid they set up at cern
sure the grid the set up here for the LHC data in Ireland at Trinity College
contains 768 processors and over 130 terabytes of hard disk space.
I know some of the people working on it , i thought wow thats alot of space till i heard LHC is expected to produce 10-15 petabytes of data each year thats is just impressive.

September 10, 2008 3:31 pm

CERN scientists rule. Keep pushing science forward, guys. Knowledge is everything.

Spockanella
September 10, 2008 3:35 pm

Someone scientific…just about anyone would be more scientific than I…please tell me just what would theoretically happen if a black hole or holes WAS created? Not that I think that’s going to happen, but still….

Irishtrekkie
September 10, 2008 3:39 pm

Yes you have to love Cern they gave us the World Wide Web ,
and everything the build is just cool

Watch the Large Hadron Rap ( with people who work at CERN)
and its (scientifically accurate)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM

September 10, 2008 3:56 pm

Yeah, today they just shot a beam in one direction through it. They haven’t done any colliding yet. Those high energy tests will take place on October 21st. So, if anything was going to happen, it would be October 21, (or four years later when the black hole got big enough to notice).

Let’s hope they know what they are doing.

Izbot
September 10, 2008 4:21 pm

47. Daniel Broadway –
“Let’s hope they know what they are doing.”

Don’t touch that! It’s the history eraser button, you fool!!

Daoud
September 10, 2008 4:30 pm

Hmmmm, we finally have a retcon reason to have a saucer-shaped ship. The outer ring of the saucer could contain a circular beam path to generate some antimatter… or other ‘ignition’ particle that would be used in the engines. Just a thought.

Seriously, don’t worry about mini-black holes though. In the presence of more massive object (the Earth), they quickly dissipate due to Hawking radiation. Their lifetimes are likely on the order of 1*10^-20 seconds. Or maybe that was one to the tenth power… ;)

Drew M
September 10, 2008 5:23 pm

45: I’m not a scientist or anything, but I have been keeping up with what’s going on with the LHC. But if a Micro Black Hole were created they would fizzle out as soon as they were created.

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