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Our planet won’t be wiped out by the Large Hadron Collider

The LHC is the biggest particle accelerator in the world and is found under the French/Swiss border. Credits : Wikimedia Commons / CERN

According to the British physicist Martin Rees, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has the potential to destroy Earth.   This popular doomsday theory recently made it to the forefront of the media however there is absolutely nothing in it!  CERN has recently announced it will be shutting down the Large Hadron Collider for two years to increase it’s accelerator energy.  This powerful accelerator sparked attention as some believed it would suck the planet into a black hole.  However this theory is also debunked! 

Particle accelerators collide particles at extreme speeds which recreate some of the characteristics of the Big Bang.  What is the aim of this accelerator?  Scientist want to observe the matter’s behaviour and potentially discover new theorised particles.  Lots of particles have been discovered but what are the risks involved in using this machine? You perhaps have seen in the recent media the theory of Martin Rees who believes CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland has the potential to reduce our planet to the size of a football pitch.  But what exactly is this theory all about?

While promoting his new book called On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, the physicist suggested to a reporter from The Telegraph that our planet may be faced with pretty beak outlooks as a result of the particle accelerator. He explained his theory that, “Maybe a black hole could form, and then suck in everything around it.” He continued that ,”The second scary possibility is that the quarks would reassemble themselves into compressed objects called strangelets. That in itself would be harmless. However under some hypotheses a strangelet could, by contagion, convert anything else it encounters into a new form of matter, transforming the entire earth in a hyperdense sphere about one hundred metres across.”

However the collisions which Rees is discussing, although generated at incredibly high levels, are nothing in comparison to cosmic rays. This is the natural version of what the LHC is creating and which crosses our planet every second. Earth has been under attack from they rays for more than 4 billion years but it has never been reduced to the size of a football field. As for black holes, if any of them did show up, they would be tiny (quantum scale) and would disintegrate instantly through a process called Hawking Radiation. Their appearance is very unlikely, but if it were the case, this would be a spectacular discovery that would allow physicists to better understand our universe.

What’s more the great Stephen Hawkings readily accepted the the particle accelerator.  He stated that, “The world will not end when the LHC begins.  The LHC is absolutely safe, collisions that release more energy occur millions of times a day in the Earth’s atmosphere, and nothing terrible  has happened.”


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