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God Particle

Those crazy scientists are at it again. They built this huge atom smasher, called a Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in order to recreate the conditions that existed right after the Big Bang in order to find what is called the Higgs boson. It is theoretically the particle that "gives mass to every [otherwise massless] elementary particle." Can't create the universe without some mass, i guess.

Two guys are suing to prevent them from using the LHC, claiming there's a chance it might create a black hole.

Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they said, could eat the Earth.

Or it could spit out something called a "strangelet" that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called "strange matter."

The Large Hadron Collider is designed to fire up protons to energies of 7 trillion electron volts before banging them together. Nothing will happen in the CERN collider that does not happen 100,000 times a day from cosmic rays in the atmosphere, said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a particle theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

What is different, physicists said, is that the fragments from cosmic rays will go shooting harmlessly through the Earth at nearly the speed of light, but anything created when the beams meet head-on in the collider will be born at rest relative to the laboratory and so will stick around and thus could create havoc.


According to a paper by the cosmologist Stephen Hawking in 1974, they would rapidly evaporate in a poof of radiation and elementary particles and thus pose no threat. No one, though, has seen a black hole evaporate.

"Maybe physics really is so weird as to not have black holes evaporate," [William Unruh, of the University of British Columbia] said. "But it would really, really have to be weird."

So, pretty much it would be almost impossible for a blackhole to be created. ALMOST. I feel better now.

The best thing about it all? Higg's boson is being referred to as the God Particle. (queue the DIO track)

By min | April 8, 2008, 3:05 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

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