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.