The Sydney Morning Herald
April 2, 2008
A GIANT particle accelerator that mimics the effects of the Big Bang could destroy all life on Earth by sucking it into a black hole, a lawsuit claims.
Walter Wagner, who runs a botanical garden on Hawaii’s Big Island, and Luis Sancho of Spain have asked for an injunction to prevent the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) starting up its Large Hadron Collider.
The accelerator, which will be the world’s most powerful particle smasher, is due to begin hurling protons at each other at its base outside Geneva this northern summer.
Physicists hope the device, which has taken 14 years and $8.7 billion to build, will provide clues to the universe’s origins by mimicking its condition one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
Although CERN scientists have already ruled out the possibility in a safety review, Mr Wagner and Mr Sancho say there is at least a small chance of annihilation of the planet and perhaps the universe.
They claim CERN has under-played the chances the collider could produce a tiny black hole or a particle called a “killer strangelet” that would turn the Earth into a shrunken lump of “strange matter”.
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