Two men pursuing a lawsuit in a court in Hawaii…think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole that will spell the end of the Earth – and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely – though they have done some checking just to make sure.

The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.

But 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 say, 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.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act.

This is not the first time around for Wagner. He filed similar suits in 1999 and 2000 to prevent the Brookhaven National Laboratory from operating the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. That suit was dismissed in 2001. The collider, which smashes together gold ions in the hopes of creating what is called a “quark-gluon plasma,” has been operating without incident since 2000.

What is there to say? Scientists have a built-in switch for skepticism. It’s an inherent part of how projects like CERN have always been developed.

Wingnuts who call the sum of peer-reviewed investigation and reflection “propaganda” deserve a minimum of attention – or less.

  1. QB says:

    Gee, Walter Wagner seems to be spending a lot of time in court these days. I’m convinced.

  2. Black Hole says:

    Go ahead, go ahead, flip that switch, lets party.

  3. eyeofthetiger says:

    “Basically, we are not sure what is going to happen.” Some guy from a CERN video. Well, at least we will have a couple trillion photos of whatever is going to happen. That’s if those Cisco routers hold up.

  4. Joshua says:

    This project facinated me when I first learned of it several years ago. Then when I went to University in the UK my first new friend and still my best mate turned out to be doing his degree in Astro-Physics. He is worried about this idea. Not that he feels it’s right, but because no one can actually prove that the bad result CAN’T happen.

    Black holes are apparently not as uncommon as we would think in the universe. Since they obviously can’t be seen, scientists say they know approx. where they are because of the disruption in the natural radio/light waves of the surrounding area. But one of the things that I have read is that they are unpredictable. And they tend to move around and we know nothing of how they started but do know they can be small or as large as our galaxy. So, if they can expand, move around at random and eat everything in sight in the void of space, what makes us believe that they can’t do all those things in a chamber in the Alp’s??

    Awake is right, there has been the occasional story, especially in Europe, of the occasional reputable scientist questioning the basis of what’s going to be done and talking about the need to make sure that the theory of being able to contain and stop the black holes is a lot more of a fact BEFORE we do something that could be a big mistake.

  5. jlm says:

    So because its impossible to prove safe/unsafe with anything other than theory then it obviously must be safe right? Whos the nutball again?

  6. PeterR says:

    I’ll bet the environmental impact statement is interesting:

    Air pollution: None
    Soil pollution: None
    Water pollution: None
    Other effects: May swallow up entire universe

  7. BubbaRay says:

    Tempest in the tiniest teapot imaginable. The mass of any particle created (black hole or otherwise) is limited by the energy input. The evaporation time of any black hole created (due to Hawking radiation) is on the order of femtoseconds (evaporation time t is proportional to M^3). A femtosecond is to a second, what a second is to about 32 million years.

    Even if a tiny black hole could accumulate any mass prior to evaporation, that would increase the evaporation time by less than an order of magnitude.

    It’s exciting that the LHC sensors can even record events that exist in this time range.

    LHC Main:

  8. smartalix says:


    …but it would be a hell of a toxic waste issue if any managed to survive.

  9. god says:

    Cripes, are the nutballs still blathering about this.

    Aside from the science, try a little mathematical logic. The probability of something occurring – which (1) has never occurred and (2) which preconditions are also not proven to be causative – is zero.

    The rest is group therapy.

  10. god says:

    Oh, and I’ll gladly wager $100 that the Earth isn’t destroyed by the Hadron Collider during its first year of operation.

    Any nutballs willing to cover that bet?

  11. blinky says:

    Eight BILLION dollars to build a machine to use huge amounts of power to discover what, exactly? Why does knowing what they are trying to “see” help anyone? Where does that $8B come from?

  12. Ah_Yea says:

    #40 BubbaRay has it right, or so I hope…

    And #28, JimR. Man! Come on over to my place, I’d love to see it!
    Even if it sucks my house into oblivion like the house in Poltergeist, It’ll be worth it!

  13. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Can’t they just start with brown holes first, then try black ones once they feel it’s safe?

  14. Ubiquitous Talking Head says:

    The universe ends when a Tramforian (sp?) pilot presses the wrong button.

    Since you ask, it’s Tralfamador/Tralfamadorians.


  15. JimR says:

    I’ll be right over. If you have some fence posts, they work great in my black hole experiment. First I bombard the hole with particles of agregate, calcium silicates, and H2O. About an hour after a post crosses the event horizon they are impossible to pull out. Very exciting to see.

  16. pat says:

    My only question is why the judge that let this go forward is still sitting on the bench.

  17. Ah_Yea says:

    #43, I’d take you up on that wager, but I still haven’t figured out how to collect if I win..

    # 48. LOL!! My house is a junk pit anyhow.

  18. Canucklehead says:

    You know there is a remote possibility that everyone’s roof is going to collapse. Very remote, but just to be safe, maybe we should all start sleeping outside.

    And then, ….

  19. Al Gore says:

    So, is this good or bad for global warming?
    I need to know before my next performance.

  20. RBG says:

    43. god: “I’ll gladly wager $100 that the Earth isn’t destroyed by the Hadron Collider during its first year of operation.
    Any nutballs willing to cover that bet?”

    Nice try. As if you’d pay up if you’re wrong.


  21. Teseract says:

    Well, just as long as the thing doesn’t go online in 2012 (when a lot of the end of the world scenarios pan out to being) then I guess we don’t have to worry. 🙂

  22. john says:

    sure, baby black holes instead of growign, travel back to the past cause einstein is ‘double wrong’and we are sons of god, so earth’s microbial surface will reproduce the big bang and nothing will happen, after all the infinite universe has been created exactly as it is by god, cause he consulted with a goatkeeper called moses to fit the anthropic principle and then came to explain it all to the globbers…
    ah but the rest of mortals cant sure understnad the great minds of scientists who cant do a single thought experiment and so they resource to blow up with a 27 km. canon particle to explain
    what their feeble minds cant even grasp
    millions of planets and not a single sing of life all over 90% of reality made of dark matter, but the bufoon species knows all well
    not that they can even calculate, they need a computer machine to look intelligent
    they are 6 atom of a 100 hierarchy,
    but bubbles grow to fill the universe till they are pinched
    the harder they fall…

  23. MatterGobbler says:

    I’ve decided that any mini black hole would simply fall to the center of the earth. It would gather matter that it fell through until it got there, and that would be the end of that. Why should anything else happen?

  24. Laughing Coyote says:

    Anyway, how do you think our OWN universe got its chance, if not by some scientists using a supercollider to crap shoot with the elementary forces of their universe? Wow! Maybe something interesting will come out of it.

    And anyway, what do we humans care for earth? As if we over-cerebralized apes aren’t already dismantling eons of evolution quite sufficiently, thank you, without CERN?

    (And btw, I’ll bet not just a $100, but everything I own–and I’ll throw in my neighbors’ houses and bank accounts as well–that Earth is NOT sucked into a black hole created by the CERN collider.)

  25. Amused says:

    In order to ensure the survival of humanity I think it’s time to hurry and complete mission to mars.

    Like, build a space faring ark.
    Do you need some wood? I got some in my backyard.
    I also might be able to pick up some small animals.
    Just doing my part.

  26. mozhde says:

    Vous pouvez lire un article sur ce que par le Dr Babak Zawari eritten dans le centre de recherche du CERN.


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