Ask Universe: LHC


It always tickles me when people email me to ask my opinion of pressing science issues, and I've decided to start posting selected exchanges for the benefit of all my readers. Remember, if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to jaw at me about all things science, feel free to write.

On Sep 9, 2008, at 4:39 PM, Christian Oldham wrote:

Hi Claire,
I'm wondering what your opinions are on the whole idea of the Large Hadron Collider and the possibility of the creation of miniature black holes.

Christian Oldham

On Sep 9, 2008, at 4:53 PM, Claire Evans wrote:

Hi Christian,

How awesome of you to ask me.

I think that the LHC is the most important and exciting thing to happen in science since quantum mechanics. I think a lot of enthusiastic things about it, but I definitely don't think that it's going to cause any miniature black holes. Tens of thousands of scientists all over the world wouldn't support something so whole-heartedly if there was the remotest chance it might destroy the entire planet, and billions of dollars would not have been spent. Human beings don't normally do things this extravagant in large numbers, working together in spite of war and economic recession, if they think they're going to kill us all. Obviously, right? But I guess I understand the romance of doomsday; it was pretty fun to get all worked up about Y2K, too. But, like, the Earth isn't flat, and we need to take a big step into the unknown every once in a while if we're going to find out about this Universe of ours.

I for one feel incredibly blessed to have been born when I was, so that I would the age that I am when this is happening.

Besides, the whole point of the LHC is to recreate an environment like that of the Universe mere moments after the Big Bang. If a black hole is what happens when that environment is created, then we wouldn't be here in the first place. Feel me?

Claire L. Evans

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