Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Uh, guys? Please don't blow up the world

The European research institute CERN is set to begin their $9 billion science experiment. Using super advanced particle accelerators inside this long tunnel, they hope to smash two atoms together at nearly the speed of light to recreate the conditions that prevailed immediately after the Big Bang (and I mean immediately; we're talking millionths of a second here). They hope to answer some fundamental physics questions that have vexed scientists for decades, revealing the secrets of everything from "dark matter" to "God particles".

Clearly, this is an exciting experiment for physicists. And the practical applications of the knowledge gained could be enormous. There's just one problem:

It could create a black hole which would basically annihilate the Earth and maybe even our entire Solar System. Seriously.

Sure, they tell us there's only a 0.00001% chance of that actually happening, or something, but still. Shouldn't we be a little closer to 0% before gambling with our very existence?

(Photo: CERN/AFP/Getty Images)

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