LHC will not destroy the universe in 5 days


50 Responses to “LHC will not destroy the universe in 5 days”

  1. maturin says:

    Still up to Cheney to get the job done then.

  2. AirPillo says:

    That little quote made me laugh in a very satisfying way.

  3. Kay the Complainer says:

    @15, aren’t you worried about spaghettification? :)

  4. Jeff says:

    Most people probably don’t realize that collisions of this sort happen all the time. Our atmosphere is bombarded by highly energetic cosmic particles (rays)every day. As far as I know, we don’t have a cloud of black holes surrounding the Earth. I’m looking forward to results that indicate the Higgs Boson. It would be very useful to have that bit of the TOE moved along.

  5. Todd Knarr says:

    I tend to agree with the Safety Assessment Group. Still, even so, I have to point out that just before the final Apollo 1 pad test someone undoubtably responded to concerns about the risk of fire in a pure-oxygen environment at greater than atmospheric pressure with “We’ve flown capsules that way how many times now? And it’s never caught fire yet.”.

  6. cqchoi says:

    Not to blow my own horn, but I wrote a story two years ago about how even if LHC turns out to be a black hole factory, it wouldn’t destroy the Earth:


  7. Sekino says:

    Am I the only one wondering why/how they conducted the research on that ’10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving’?

    We need an article on that!

  8. Kat Johnston says:

    I don’t know if I like those odds of shaving now… do I really want to risk it? *tongue firmly in cheek*

  9. Trent Hawkins says:


    The statistical number was derived from an observation of one “Iroshi Hayanuma” of Hiroshima who vaporized while shaving in 1945.

  10. MarlboroTestMonkey7 says:

    If the LHC doesn’t have the power to blow us out, what’s the point of testing? Wussies I say!

  11. aldasin says:

    I actually think it would be awesome if we wiped out the earth in an instant. It would be our ultimate achievement coupled with our instant annihilation.
    One big cosmic fuck, baby.

  12. Micah says:

    Wait, how do we know this reassurance isn’t just a trick by the folks at the CERN School of Improvisational Comedy?

  13. Trent Hawkins says:


    The statistical number was derived from an observation of one “Iroshi Hayanuma” of Hiroshima who vaporized while shaving in 1945.

  14. Beard of Bees says:

    #12, I bet you’re a wild guy to have at a party.

  15. Godzilla says:

    Damn it, I was hoping life would become a whole lot more interesting.

    Oh well, back to wait for nuclear war, zombie apocalypse, and alien invasion.

  16. geo the moose says:

    #25/#28/anybody! please explain more about this guy vaporizing- its driving me nuts. I need to shave before I go to work and I cant decide if its safe or not to do so!

  17. bbonyx says:

    That’s what these guys thought…

    The Quiet Earth

  18. dejangex says:

    http://lhccountdown.info/ for latest countdown and info

  19. brightblue says:

    I saw one article mention that it would take about 4 years for the black holes to grow large enough to devour the earth. That leads us to 2012, giving us yet another way to prove that the Mayans were right.

  20. dainel says:

    This is a good explanation for Fermi’s paradox.

    I have 2 questions.

    (1) Could it be that the more energetic particles that have hit the earth in the past did not produce an earth-swallowing black hole because they were travelling too fast? I’m thinking of nuclear reactors/bombs where the neutrons must not be too fast. Perhaps the “reaction” is different? It would be silly to realize it after the fact, “oh why didn’t we see that, of course the reaction is different seeing as the energy involved is several orders of magnitude off”.

    (2) Those high-energy cosmic ray particles were travelling at extremely high speeds, and they hit something on earth. If the collision produced a black hole, wouldn’t it too be travelling at a high speed? Maybe it “ate” it’s way right through the earth, and come out the other side, before it had time to grow to any significant size?

    The LHC collides protons travelling in opposite directions. The nett momentum is zero. Any black hole created would sit right there.

  21. kaiza says:

    #12 And here I was hoping to have a small personal black hole to f***.

    Hey, it has to be somebody’s fetish…

    I INVOKE THE POWER OF RULE 34 (preferably with Gordon Freeman, although a Stephen Hawking is fine too).

  22. Sister Y says:

    #45 – as to the black hole threat, they have an answer:

    LHC collisions will differ from cosmic-ray collisions in that any exotic particles created will have lower velocities, but the Safety Assessment Group shows that even fast-moving black holes produced by cosmic rays would have stopped inside the Earth or other astronomical bodies. Their existence proves that any such black holes could not gobble matter at a risky rate.

    But if our vacuum is metastable, and a collision causes vacuum decay, that shit travels at the speed of light (or so John Leslie says).

  23. Chris L says:

    Of course, explaining this to a certain type of person would be fruitless. If you think that modern subatomic theory is bunch of BS anyway, you can make up all sorts of things that could happen because we’re messing with “THE UNKNOWN.”

    If you wanted to, one could argue that the LHC is dangerous because there’s a chance it will turn every human being into ducks. Who’s to say? Certainly not the guys who do this stuff for a living.

  24. erissian says:

    I know it’s hyperbole, but at that rate one person would evaporate from shaving approximately every week :(

  25. bzishi says:

    Yep. The Earth has been hit with particles with energies exceeding 10^20 eV (like the Oh-My-God particle) for billions of years. If that didn’t destroy the Earth, the 10^15 eV experiment at the LHC doesn’t stand a chance.

  26. dea173 says:

    Of course, if LHC does detroy the universe …

    we will never know about it.

    Oh well …

  27. Takuan says:

    actually, we will. If the entire universe is sucked into whatever event created, and every particle completely consumed, we will all remain as pure thought, complete with memories and all. Then the whole bunch of us will spend an infinity of eternities floating around with nothing to do but blame each other. The Geek Rapture.

  28. mdh says:

    Five Days?

    Seems to me it should take seven, six if nobody takes a day off.

  29. Jake0748 says:


    My life aint that great right now anyway, and neither is yours. Humanity may or may not destroy itself sometime soon anyway. Either by nuclear (or non) war, overpopulation with resulting destruction of a sustainable environment, climate destabilization, general stupidity, etc.

    I say turn the sucker on and see what happens. We will either learn stuff or, pfffft.

    Just kidding (sort of).

  30. Angry Sam says:

    What if it comes online while I’m shaving? How do straight razors affect these calculations?

  31. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    So… I have to grow a neckbeard in order to not obliterate myself?

  32. GlenBlank says:

    “Nature has already conducted the equivalent of about a hundred thousand LHC experimental programmes on Earth – and the planet still exists.”

    So if I play the Lotto a hundred thousand times and I don’t win the big prize, I can pretty much conclude that no one ever does?

    Good to know.

  33. schnalle says:

    flip switch, boom, all dead in the blink of an eye. boring. the zombiecalypse appeals a lot more to my hollywoodesque apocalyptic scenario of my choice.

    but lets combine it: if the zombiecalypse comes, build some kind of trigger that is activated by a zombie, automatically conduct the program 10^19 times (maybe somehow including a rube goldberg machine?).

  34. onreact says:

    Sorry to disappoint you but the CERN own “LHC Safety Assessment Group” (you can reach them at lsag@cern.ch btw.) is not an objective entity obviously. Also “in 5 days” suggests that after that we will have proven that the LHC is safe, but that’s not true either. The really dangerous experiments will start later on.
    Last but not least: According to a NYT article the chances of the LHC destroying the world are as high as winning in a lottery. I just hope nobody wins this time.

    I wonder why nobody cites the scientists who are not CERN/LHC affiliated?

  35. Takuan says:

    I’m curious, did any of those who tried to stop the experiment sell all their stuff, max their credit cards and generally behave as if they really believed what they were peddling?

  36. Trent Hawkins says:

    So, anyone else planning an end-of-the-world party?

  37. Joe says:

    Glenblank: some cosmic rays have vastly more power than anything LHC can produce, so the experiment has been done billions, quadrillions, zillions of times.

  38. sfazzios says:

    What bothers me is that everyone seems to think that the scientists are just going to turn the machine on, and all these crazy new experiments are going to take place. What’s actually going to happen is that on Wednesday they are going to inject a few particles and not do any collisions for at least a month. Even then, it will be operating at a fraction of it’s planned power. I imagine it won’t get up to higher energies than the Tevatron for quite a while (LHC scientists admit that it won’t be up to full power until 2009 or 2010. Oh, and these sorts of things always run behind schedule).

  39. Ned613 says:

    “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die” – Isaiah xxii 13

  40. Sekino says:

    @#25: Ah, OK! Thank you!

    @#29: I’m pretty sure he is referring to a victim of the A-bomb in Hiroshima. So I assume the poor chap happened to be shaving near ground zero at the time.

  41. Takuan says:

    yeah, but it hasn’t got to jillions yet so I don’t feel quite safe.

  42. MichaelRN says:

    Repeating, of course…

  43. angryhippo says:

    What if turning the device on *causes* the zombiecalypse? Awesome x2!

  44. A New Challenger says:

    I’m never shaving ever again.

  45. AnEngineeringMind says:

    Who cares? A black hole would be a sweet way to go!


  46. Crawford Tillinghast says:

    Heh. I still say anyone messing around with that ought to at least Google “Doctor Who” and “Omega” before proceeding any further….

  47. minTphresh says:

    well, hopefully this won’t happen… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXzugu39pKM

  48. sammich says:

    Nature hates us :(

  49. sammich says:

    0.00000000000000000001 isn’t good enough

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