While the rest of us go about our daily business, maybe worrying about our mortgages, the elections or perhaps even global warming, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will conduct a multi-billion experiment that critics say could create a black hole right here on earth that will destroy the world.  Unless an urgent appeal to the European Court of Human Rights by these worried scientists succeeds, the world’s biggest scientific experiment will fire up on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. 

This bizarre experiment will use a massive (17 mile) donut shaped tunnel, deep underground and straddling the French and Swiss borders called the Large Hadron Collider to smash atoms together at around the speed of light.  The purpose is to recreate the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after Big Bang – the birth of the universe – “to provide vital clues to the building blocks of life”, (Jonathan Petre, Mail on Sunday).  They expect to generate sub-atomic particles never detected before, including the Higgs Boson, predicted by British Scientist Peter Higgs way back in the 1960s.  The Higgs Boson is crucial to the theory of particle physics and current understanding of the structure of the universe. 

The Large Hadron Collider even has its own rap (Rapping the LHC), written by Kate McAlpine, a physics graduate from Michigan State University who works in the press office at the CERN offices in Switzerland. “…Two beams of protons/ swing ’round/ Through the ring they ride/’til in the hearts of the detectors/ they’re made to collide!/ And all that energy packed/ in that tiny room/ becomes mass,/ particles created from the vacuum…”  It’s pretty good. 

But some scientists who are opposed to the experiment claim it may cause a black hole that could swallow the world.  “The concern is that the moment we press the return key, the particle accelerator could create a black hole that might eat up the whole planet”.  If a big enough black hole develops, the world will disappear taking us with it in an instant.  Another worry is that a number of small black holes will develop and that these may join together over the coming months, wreaking increasing havoc with Planet Earth; causing earthquakes and breaking up the earth’s crust over time until the whole world is eventually destroyed.  These threats have been discounted by the scientists at CERN, and by most physicists around the world. 

Let’s hope the doomsayers are wrong and CERN are right!  But if it all goes wrong, at least Zimbabwe won’t have to worry about Mugabe any longer…

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com

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