RSS
The Hadron Collider and the end of the world
Will the world’s biggest particle smasher destroy the world?
 

Wednesday’s first test run of Europe’s Large Hadron Collider is one of the biggest science stories of the decade, said Barbara Krasnoff in Computerworld online, and all we hear about are the Internet-fueled rumors that the world’s biggest particle smasher could “precipitate the end of the world.” Unsurprisingly, it didn’t. What will it do? If it’s successful, it will help us prove string theory and understand how “life, the universe, and everything” works.

The Hadron scientists are crashing particles traveling at near–light speed “into each other like teenage drunks,” said Chris Matyszczyk in CNET News, and I, for one, am scared. They say they know what they’re doing, but how can they? “I don’t care if I’m made up of tiny little bits of string. I just want to be in one piece to watch the next Superbowl.”

“For those expecting the end of the world, the wait will continue for another few weeks,” said Germany’s Spiegel Online, when the Hadron team actually starts “bashing protons against each other.” But if they can get past the huge “end of the world” PR problem, scientists have great hopes for unlocking all sorts of secrets of the universe.

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week