As you know, Bob, the Large Hadron Collider broke, after it was turned on and demonstrated to function, but before any full design energy collisions took place.
Before the LHC there was the SSC which also met its demise in strange ways.
I think not…
Now these are large, complex, expensive machines.
As such they are subject to political whims, and engineering flaws.
But, some of the smartest people on Earth have teamed up to get together the resources and build and operate these supercolliders, to probe physics at the highest energies. And they’ve always worked before.
On the other hand, it has been conjectured that collisions at such energies would destroy the Earth.
This can, in principle, be remedied. Is the LHC destroying the Earth?
But, what if the Quantum Zeno’s Paradox is not enough to save the Earth.
What if blog readers fail to click often enough?
Well, the Earth would be destroyed. Some of the time.
In which case, of course, we would not be here to blog about it.
So, anthropic selection guarantees that in fact I am in a universe, of all the possible universes, in which either:
I) Operating an LHC class collider does not destroy the Earth.
II) Or, any attempt to operate an LHC class collider has failed, so far.
Clearly, a priori, case I) is more probable.
Unless, of course, you find yourself in a universe in which LHC class colliders were repeatedly attempted and failed to operate for low probability bizarro reasons…
You Destroyed The Earth!
In an alternative universe. Maybe.
So do we conclude that the LHC be discontinued and the funding given to some safe conservative institution like a Swiss Bank?
Nah, see, if the Earth is destroyed, we’ll never know, it will be in another instantiation of the universe; but in our universe the attempt to restart the LHC would fail, again, for some weird low probability reason.
And we would know with increasing certainty each time, that the multiverse theory of quantum mechanics is in fact correct.
I think 10-20 attempts would be sufficient.
During each of which 1/pi instantiations of the Earth are of course destroyed, where pi << 1 is the prior probability, per attempt, of the LHC failing to operate correctly.
We would then have a profound insight into the fundamental nature of QM, on those instantiations of the Earth in which we survived all the (failed) attempts, of course.
In the other universes, alien intelligences would be treated to a spectacular astronomical high energy phenomenon.
Unless the failure mode involves a phase transition to another false vacuum or some such, which annihilates large segments of the universe.
That’d be kinda cool too.
Hard to observe though.