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LHC: The End of the World as We Know It?

As you may know, tomorrow (Wednesday, September 10 2008) is the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. You see, that’s when scientists at the CERN research center in Switzerland will be hitting a giant red button (I made that detail up) on the side of an enormous machine called the Large Hadron Collider. That machine will recreate the environment that existed in our Universe mere moments after the Big Bang.

There are people in the world who are desperately attempting to stop this experiment from proceeding. They’re using lawsuits, web hacks, death threats and more because they believe that this experiment will result in a black hole forming that will swallow the planet. Scientists around the world have repeatedly pointed out that the chances of this happen are vanishingly small. The only way that this is the end of the world as we know it is because after the LHC starts doing its thing, we’re going to know so much more about the world — well, about the entire Universe.

Stephen Hawking has just weighed in on the LHC and agreed that there’s nothing to be afraid of:

“The LHC is absolutely safe. If the collisions in the LHC produced a micro black hole – and this is unlikely – it would just evaporate away again, producing a correctoristic pattern of particles,” he said.

My first thought was, “Phew! A black hole would only produce a correctoristic pattern of particles!”

My second thought was, “Correctoristic is not a word.”

I looked it up in the dictionary — correctitude, corrective, correlate. Then I Googled, and the only results referred to Hawkings’ statement! Well, and one passing reference in another word’s definition in a Random House dictionary. That’s when I realized that CERN is out to destroy the Universe and Stephen Hawking is a part of the conspiracy. They paid him to go to the media and reassure the populace, encouraging him to just make stuff up if anyone should question his opinion. You heard it here first!

Okay, not really. If you want to learn more about how cool LHC is, check out Brian Cox’s fabulous BBC show, The Big Bang Machine or his talk at TED.

16 comments to LHC: The End of the World as We Know It?

  • Jim Shaver


    This post exemplifies your characteristic wit and charm. Thanks!

    P.S. It’s been nice knowing your internet persona.

  • Rebecca, I had similar thoughts when I came across that word in the article. I just assumed it was some particle physics jargon.
    I now realize he meant…”correctitudinosity”

  • Jim,

    I’m sure you were actually referring to RW’s “correctoristic” wit and charm.

    That neologism has to be a result of some quirk in Hawking’s speech synthesizer.

  • We’re all gonna die and nobody cares!

    Excuse me, I’m gonna have sex with all kinds of animals and plants and be right back…

  • …yeah, and if Steven Hawking is wrong about one thing, then he could be wrong about everything!

    I’m going to the pub.

  • Ben Albert


    Don’t forget your towel 🙂

  • Pikatron

    We’re doomed! Doomed, I tell you! We are so toast when the alien hordes start pouring out of the dimensional portal the LHC will generate! Muah ha ha ha ha!

  • Jim, aw, thanks!

    Bob: There you go again, making up words….

  • Have you seen this – the LHC rap?


    That Brain Cox guy needs to bust some rhymes if he really wants to help people grasp particle physics…

  • TurtleTom

    I don’t know why they hooked up so many computers to the damn thing…all it’s going to output is ’42’.

  • timdarklighter

    Yes, TurtleTom, followed by it telling us how to make the “Quite A Bit Larger Hadron Collider” which can calculate the question whose answer is 42.

  • Skulker


    You celebrated too early. This was only a test and no particles actually collided so we will have to live in fear and dread for a couple more months before they actually destroy the world. Which means that julianrod should pace himself in his sexcapade since he has more time to mate with more species.

  • DLC

    Onoez! teh Atem Smashers gonna blow up teh worldz!!!

    I’m not worried, I have a secret base on Cruithne… and only Phil Plait knows where that is!

  • Stormo

    To be fair they haven’t actually started having collisions yet, those won’t begin until October 21st. They are merely sending particles around the loop, which we all knew was safe.

    There is still time for us to stop them.

  • springer.adam

    are people really saying that particles in space are not colliding at these speeds? wouldnt the universe and even as locally as our solar system be riden with masive earth divouring black holes if every particle collision in these conditions caused one?

  • Sceptic

    Geek humor is killing me. Please please please let the collider end all of this. It would be far less painful.

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