Archives: March 2008

28/03 The LHC - will it kill babies?

Every time physicists prepare to switch on a new particle accelerator, it seems that a small number of people, usually unqualified, manage to whip up a scare story about it destroying humanity (or, occasionally, the universe), and inevitably, the forthcoming switch-on of the LHC is no exception. Ludicrous as they are, I think that these scare stories are not improbable enough, and so I would like to see peer-reviewed rebuttals of the following similarly-improbable scenarios:

  • The LHC creates new "very strange matter" that turns normal matter into ripe gruyere upon contact. This leads to the cheese-death of the universe.

  • The LHC creates new "queer matter" that turns heterosexual people homosexual. Society is destroyed by the creation of a ghastly legion of divorce lawyers, feeding on human misery.

  • The LHC opens up a portal to another dimension, from which pour trillions of deadly alien bees, desperate to lay their glistening eggs in human flesh. Supplies of DDT stored at the LHC collision points in readiness for this emergency prove inadequate. Worldwide, fewer than 10,000 people are within range of a bee-shelter when the bee-raid sirens sound.

  • The LHC reveals that the universe we inhabit is actually a game of Second Life. Humanity is destroyed in mass outbreaks of griefing.

  • The Higgs Boson is discovered to great initial rejoicing, but soon distrust and fear set in and an angry mob of villagers try to destroy it by burning down CERN. The Higgs ultimately turns against and kills its masters and is last seen disappearing into the Arctic wilderness.

  • CERN physicists use their doomsday device to extort one milliongazillion dollars from the UN, bringing on a golden age of physics research but destroying the world economy and killing two thirds of humanity due to starvation.