European Experiment Could Lead Earth to Black Hole

Dennis Faas's picture

Scientists are about to go ahead with the launch of a major physics experiment despite death threats from people convinced it will doom Earth to a black hole.


The Large Hadron Collider, based near the border of France and Switzerland, is a cylinder that measures 27 kilometres around. When switched on this week, it will house two beams of protons which will collide at a speed just a millionth of one percent less than the speed of light. This will create up to 600 million particle collisions a second, allowing scientists to test theories about what makes up dark matter and why gravity is so weak compared with other natural forces.

However, there are fears that the experiment could have unforeseen consequences, most notably that it could create a tiny black hole that would rapidly expand and swallow the entire earth. Some are so convinced that they've phoned the experiment's headquarters pleading tearfully for staff to scrap their plans, while Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has even received death threats.

Expert responses have varied in tone. The staff behind the project have put together an official web page aimed at reassuring the public, which includes the explanation that each particle collision will produce less energy than two mosquitoes bumping into one another. Meanwhile the outspoken British scientist Brian Cox simply says "Anyone who believes the Large Hadron Collider will destroy the earth is a twat." (Source:

From a legal perspective, it's wrong to say that there is absolutely no chance the experiment will end the world; it's just that it's extraordinarily remote. Indeed, one researcher put the odds at one in 50 million -- though he argued that this probability, combined with the billions of deaths that would result, means that for insurance purposes the collider will kill an average of 12 people a year. (Source:

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet