back to article Hadron boffins: Our meddling will not destroy universe

Boffins preparing to fire up the most powerful particle-smasher ever built have released another reassuring report which says that their machine will definitely not destroy the universe - nor even the planet Earth. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a titanic 27-kilometre doughnut made of ultra-chilly superconductor magnet pipe …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    No problems "expected"?

    'Any microscopic black holes produced at the LHC are "expected" to decay by Hawking radiation before they reach the detector walls.'

    Oh goody, we'll hold you to that if we haven't already been compressed into a singularity with a quantum mass of zero! ( See I was paying attention during Red Dwarf! )

  2. Fogcat

    Ahh Fridays...

    Can you bottle what ever Lewis is on and sell it at the C 'n' C - I want some!

    And I think we need a coffee/keyboard icon. Class action case anyone?

  3. Richard

    Love it

    I brilliant article from the off. Reads like The Science of Discworld.

    "It's as if a million voices groaned "Nice one scientists" in annoyance, and were suddenly silenced."

  4. David Adams

    So, what is it?

    KRYTEN: I've never seen one before -- no one has -- but I'm guessing it's

    a white hole.

    RIMMER: A _white_ hole?

    KRYTEN: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A black hole

    sucks time and matter out of the universe: a white hole returns it.

    LISTER: So, that thing's spewing time back into the universe? (He dons

    his fur-lined hat.)

    KRYTEN: Precisely. That's why we're experiencing these curious time

    phenomena on board.

    CAT: So, what is it?

    KRYTEN: I've never seen one before -- no one has -- but I'm guessing it's

    a white hole.

    RIMMER: A _white_ hole?


    etc, etc

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Hadron boffins: Our meddling will not destroy universe.......

    or your money back!

  6. jai

    so long and thanks for all the fish

    i'd feel an awful more confortable about the whole if the document telling us Don't Panic hadn't been written by the people running the HLC and who would be held responcible if there's anyone left alive on Thursday to complain

    shouldn't that have been done by an independant party?

    i'm sure Frankenstein said much the same as that document does, while in the village pub the night before the big thunderstorm, but they still ended up coming for him with the pitchforks

    we're doomed! man was not meant to meadle with the ways of the gods!! doomed i tells you!!!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Show some results!

    After all the billions spent on this project and all the hype, I'd like to see some tangible deliverables. Preferably:-

    Warp Drive

    Time Travel

    Sharks with Frikkin lasers on their heads.

    Is this too much to ask??

  8. Andy H

    Hopefully it'll be ok

    Comics ray hit earth with the power a million times more powerfully than the energies LHC can produce.

  9. Andrew Kelly

    Nothing to worry about

    I'm sure that ET and his pals are keeping a close eye on proceedings. If they thought that there was a possibility of anything untoward happening I'd like to think that they would appear within plenty of time (7 seconds from switch on I would imagine) and put a halt on things.

    Or maybe this is just a big ruse to get ET to show himself?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I never thought I'd see a resonance cascade, let alone create one!"

  11. Xander

    No "concievable" risk

    Isn't the whole point of the LHC to produce inconcievable results?

  12. Steven Jones

    They'll never find out

    Well if they get it wrong, and we are all gobbled up, then we'll never know. There are worse ways to go.

    It reminds me of a conundrum given to a mad scientist who invented a machine which would instantly obliterate the Earth if the button was pressed and wanted to know if it worked. He decided to press it to see what happened and never found out.

    Anyway, I suspect even now that Prince Charles is getting ready to denounce the whole thing.

  13. Rob

    Made my day

    "The waiting will be over soon, anyway. The magno-tunnel doughnut was chilled down to hadron-headbang operating temperatures last month, and will generate its first circulating beam next Wednesday. Shortly thereafter an opposing stream will be fired up. Then it'll be time to start loosing off the twin proton cannons into each others' muzzles on full auto (Ed: and shout yee-hah) and watch the chunks of weird-o-frag fly."

    After reading that, I want one of these toys, sorry scientific apparatus, to play with they sound like proper fun :)

    Mine's the one with the exotic particles in the pocket

  14. Craig Vaughton

    More Entertaining than...

    If the LHC does propel us through a black hole, it has to be more entertaining than watching England at the weekend!

    Hopefully after it all I'll awake to find out for the last 40 odd years, I've been playing an artificial reality game, badly!

    "Dwayne Dibbly!"

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Dan Brown and Angels and Demons

    I believe Dan Brown wrote about all this (possibly in Angels and Demons. I have only read one of his books, and this was so full of untruths that to read another is now beyond me). So, if in his book he predicted the end of the universe, then we are all safe.

  16. David Heys

    Can't they delay it by a week?

    By then I will have had my birthday - I'm looking forward to some nice presents.

  17. Solomon Grundy

    Higgs Boson

    That's going to be the main character in my next novel.

    On another note it's sort of refreshing to read scientific press-bable as opposed to politico mainstream news babble.

  18. Mark

    re: No problems "expected"?

    Well, we expect the sun to come up tomorrow based purely on the science of orbital mechanics and stellar physics.

    We expect to live through the night and not die of heart attack.

    We expect lots of things that do come true.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Now what's the question again...

    We can only hope that once the switches are all pressed, (i imagine the Death Star trigger sequence, only with a H&S warning on the railing), the humming raises to a gentle crescendo that's felt more than heard, tests are run, the tannoy announces 'the board is green', press, pr and politicians congratulate themselves on the momentous achievement, whilst the scientists look forward to a new area of understanding....the first protons are fed into the beam and the detectors fired up, the tension is unbearable as a myriad of scientists watch the screens. All around the world geeks and others huddle around screens watching live feeds, commenting in hushed tones on how this will be year 0.....

    ...and the screen shows '42'.

  20. Steven Raith
    Dead Vulture

    Think about it - if it does all go wrong...

    ...there won't be anyone there to complain about it, will there?

    You can't shout at someone from the singularity of a black hole.

    Bring on the apocomalypse!

    Steven R

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I read that as "Hardon boffins..."

    I think I've been reading too much spam...

    Paris... well you know...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    They're waiting for you Gordon... the test chammmbeeer.

  23. Sam Green
    Thumb Up


    Cracking use of 'beezer' there Lewis.

  24. Bo Pedersen
    Thumb Up

    absolutely perfect

    Cheers Lewis

    I have emailed a link to this article to all my friends who have been

    double-u tee eff-ing at my excitement and conCERN ! :)

  25. Steve Crook
    Paris Hilton

    Can't wait...

    The science is interesting, but I'm really looking forward to it because it'll mean an end to those interminable Radio4 trailers for 'Big Bang Day'.

    Paris because she's always looking for a bigger bang...

  26. Matt Kimber

    Now if you'd just like to climb up and start the rotors...

    ... after all, it's comforting to know that whole *legions* of geeks have spent their teenage and indeed adult lives training for the, "enormous rift in spacetime caused by meddling with That Which Man Should Not Know", isn't it?

    Mine's the one with the synthesised female voice and the curious propensity for silence on the part of the wearer.

  27. Ondrej Doubek


    You haven't seen "Quiet Earth", did you? Then You should know how such things end!

    They never learn, they never learn...

    Now where's that pack of sleeping pills? And when was it they want to fire that thing up?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    More like this please!

    ...what's this strange soupy substance in my coat pocket?

  29. mafro


    "It ought to be called strangelet gazpacho, really; that would avoid confusion."

    That was a coffee-keyboard interaction moment for me.

    Additionally, something I read over on boingboing this morning.. Mr Doctorow was informed of this, by one of their physicists:

    "Look, it's a 10^-19 chance [of total world destruction], and you've got a 10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving."

  30. adnim Silver badge

    At light speed from Geneva

    "Or maybe the wavefront of nonexistence would spread out only at light speed, so allowing you millennia to see your doom bearing down?"

    Would it not spread out from the source? ie CERN near Geneva, at the speed of light? I don't think we would see it coming, which suits me just fine. I would not be happy spending millennia pondering my inevitable doom.

    Anyhow according to the measurement paradox and quantum state reduction, would not observing the wavefront cause it to collapse?

  31. Dangermouse


    Judging from Lewis's concerns over keeping ice cubes in his glass one would rather suspect it's Pimms.

    Or Whiskey.

    Is there a 'drunk' icon?

  32. Squits

    The black hole thing

    You can't create a black hole like this, there isn't enough mass associated with the protons to make the black hole stable, you need an enormous amount of mass to stabilise something like that.

    Black holes suck in matter and everything, so how can something so powerful be created just by smashing a few protons together?

  33. Craig Chambers

    Do CERN have Gordon Freeman on the payroll?

    I'd feel much more comfortable knowing that Gordon Freeman was there. I don't want to end up as a slave to the combine after they turn this on!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Half Life Coming True?

    I look forward to entering Black Mesa and the other dimension then bashing the aliens, I’m sure most of us have had some practise.

    We will be fine!!!

  35. Thomas Baker


    I know it can give you hairy palms and potentially ruin your eyesight, but I didn't realise it could destroy the universe?

    Oh, wait a minute, "Hadron boffins" you say? Sorry, I'll get me' full length raincoat.

  36. Dark Horse

    Go for it!

    Switch it on, and watch those billiard balls fly... and crash... and do strange physical weirdness...

    If it all goes pea-soap-like, at least I won't be subjected to any more X-Factor / Pop Idol crap or listen to any more impending financial doom.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Can I get a Reg t-shirt saying....

    "I told you so"

    Paris - something about banging her and super-novas....

  38. Neil Charles

    All I know about life I learned from Star Trek

    It's a research station pushing the boundaries of science

    It's on the edge of the Neutral Zone (well, Switzerland)

    If this all ends in a big smoking crater on the border of France, I'll be looking to blame the Romulans

  39. The Badger

    Line in the sand

    "Since our methodology is based on empirical reasoning based on experimental observations, it would be applicable to other exotic phenomena that might raise concerns in the future."

    Consider yourselves notified, Genesis-botherers!

  40. David Shepherd

    vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe

    ... well perhaps not in (any of) our branch(es) of the multiverse

  41. Rob

    A quote from the Telegraph made my day

    Prof Brian Cox of Manchester University: "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat."

    Full article here:

  42. GrahamT

    "There might not be any hops, for instance...

    ...; or low gravity might mean that ice cubes wouldn't reliably stay in one's glass."

    Yes, Friday lunchtime at last.

    "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." Douglas Adams.

  43. Nemo Metis


    reading some of these comments anyone would think reg readers took notice of the sun/fail's doomsaying. one or to things will happen as a result of finding this Higgs Boson chappy: 1) it all goes tits up and we never know anything about it because its too late. So long and thanks for all the fish.

    2) can anyone say no more energy bills? the direct result from all this, at least one of them anyway, will be to control any form of reaction from it and harnessing that energy. this would, more or less produce zero point energy. utilising this, a cubic centimetre of space, could provide energy to run the entire world with each country consuming the amount the USA does for 100,000 years. IIRC.

    Bring it on.

  44. Martin
    Paris Hilton

    Last words..........ever.

    "Right - Switch it on!....... it supposed to do that?.......

    ......Oh Crap!"


    Paris has very probably Hadron

  45. Anonymous Coward

    New Advert for Cillit Bang?

    BANG and the Earth is gone!!

    Hi, I'm Barry Scott and I would once again like to re-iterate that I welcome our transdimensional, cold-soup loving, cheez-string weaving, hardon buffin' overlords...

  46. Anonymous Coward


    I'm glad they're telling us it'll be OK. I guess we can all relax - the universe is not in imminent danger.

    But, if you happen to see a man (in an odd suit) and a woman in the vicinity of a blue wooden police box with a flashing light on top ................ RUN !!

    (Mine's the scarf and coat - with jelly babies in the pocket).

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear...

    Gordon, what are you doing?!

  48. pctechxp


    It'll cause us to get released from the matrix and we'll find Neo and the gorgeous Trinity waiting, that's my hope anyway.

    Free your mind!

  49. Anonymous Coward

    They switched it on already!

    The news from those who work at Cern, is that they ALREADY switched in on this week! Sneaky move. But at least we are all still here?

    But the thing will not be on full power until a few months yet. Hope my cutlery, lawnmower, bikes don't disappear again, those magnets are bloody strong!

  50. Frank Bough
    IT Angle

    Hang on...

    If "cosmic rays are always smacking into the upper atmosphere at the same sort of speeds as protons shot from the LHC's magno-doughnut cannons", then why was the LHC built in favour of a collection of spacecraft each containing one of the LHC's detector types? I know the detectors are big and heavy, but I'm sure they could be refined for off-world use.


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