Could a Super Collider or Similar Machine Destroy the World?

There’s an article today on LRC that raises this possibility. Could it happen? Yes, I think it could. This possibility occurred to me in the last few months when I was reading articles about relativity and reading about the science of the universe’s origins. One article by some Danish physicists has a theory that the whole universe could collapse. The article says “This phase transition within the universe would take place if a bubble is formed where a Higgs-field, that’s related to the Higgs-Boson, transforms into a different value than the rest of the universe.”

The Large Hadron collider has recently produced a Higgs-Boson, we are told. The scientists at Brookhaven plan to increase their ion collider by 20-fold. Well, put 2 and 2 together. Maybe someday in one of these colliders they’ll produce an unusual Higgs field by accident that leads to an unstoppable destructive process in which mass-energy collapses.

It seems to me that there are other similar possibilities. What is the worth of continuing to discover more and more abstruse and evanescent particles or attempting to understand how our universe began? What’s the payoff? Shouldn’t the risks be considered?

Can a component (Man) of that universe figure out what it itself is and what that system is of which that component is a part? If the universe began with a singularity and possesses unique physical constants that differ from any other possible universe, mightn’t experiments to produce particles inadvertently recreate the conditions for a universe-creating singularity that destroys this universe while giving birth to another?

The odds of man destroying himself and the planet, or even the universe, are non-negligible.


5:47 pm on February 19, 2014

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