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First Hadron Collider Test Successful, World Doesn't End


The Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, was switched on today as scientists attempted to detect the tiny particles that make up so-called "dark matter" by recreating the conditions present moments after the 'Big Bang' that created the universe occurred.

CernfearThe first test was successful.

News Factor reported: "The LHC is a 27-kilometer ring located in the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland, around which high-energy protons will be smashed together in two counter-rotating beams. More than 1,000 magnets will keep the beams -- each containing millions of protons -- on a circular path around the collider, while hundreds more keep the beams focused. The beams will travel at almost the speed of light. What's the point? To replicate as closely as possible conditions in the universe immediately after the Big Bang, and to search for the elusive Higgs boson, an undiscovered particle that is required for physics' Standard Model to work. The Higgs boson -- popularized as 'God's particle' -- was theorized in 1964 by Peter Higgs and independently by a number of other physicists."

Physicist Stephen Hawking made a bet that scientists won't find the Higgs boson. Said Hawking: I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of 100 dollars that we won't find the Higgs." (at left, "the Large Hadron Rap")

Some amazing shots of the Hadron and its construction at the Big Picture.

Some theorized that the test would create a miniature 'black hole' that would begin to devour the Earth, sucking the planet into itself and leave it as a ball of glowing, dense dark matter.

A frightening apocalyptic animation of what a few people feared would happen and a video of how it works, AFTER THE JUMP...

And here's how it works:

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  1. The black-hole-ending-the-world argument against the LHC sounds about as plausible as the gays-getting-married-ending-the-world argument. Why are people such ignorant reactionaries?

    Posted by: MT | Sep 10, 2008 8:30:46 AM

  2. Was it just me or did anyone else read the title of the post as "First HARDON Collider Test Successful ..."

    I was thinking finally someone persuing science that applies to my day to day life, what does happen when two hardon's collide?

    Posted by: kujhawker | Sep 10, 2008 8:31:42 AM

  3. The evil side of me was hoping they'd relocate to Alaska at the last second and give a certain grandmother-to-be her own personal rapture. *sigh*

    Posted by: SexyBack | Sep 10, 2008 8:35:33 AM

  4. Technically, if the world ever could end from CERN, turning it on and running the first tests wouldn't do much to prove the point either way. The particles whose collision might in theory create the black hole haven't started colliding yet, and won't for a couple weeks as they continue to test the beams out and then start accelerating particles to near light speed.

    BTW, anyone care to venture a guess as to the ratio of bottom quarks to top quarks in the universe? Quarks are pretty nelly little subatomic particles...

    Posted by: Ender | Sep 10, 2008 8:51:35 AM

  5. The thing is, they weren't colliding the particles that was theorized to cause this black hole, they were only testing to make sure the protons actually went around the track. The actual collision test won't occur until October 21.

    P.S. I think it would be cosmically funny if we managed to destroy the world by pew-pew-pewing protons at each other.

    Posted by: The Avatar of Blue | Sep 10, 2008 9:20:47 AM

  6. Whereabouts of the Higgs Boson (as well as neutrinos, leptons and yes, top as well as bottom quarks) REVEALED!!!

    They are hiding wherever the brains of repuglicans are hiding and we would need not just an LHC but a superconducting supercollider to detect those!!!

    Posted by: Bading | Sep 10, 2008 10:15:49 AM

  7. MT

    It was the same during the first nuke test. Some physicists swore and be damned that the test would ignite our atmosphere and burn the world to a cinder.

    There are always chicken littles

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Sep 10, 2008 11:28:30 AM

  8. Ooh, a hard-on collider!

    (thanks, kuj!)

    Posted by: JeffRob | Sep 10, 2008 12:08:56 PM

  9. concerns about the LHC have been handled appropriately. it is just as improper to belittle those concerns as it is to blow them out of proportion. it's essential to have "chicken little" voices (such as, for example, those who predicted long ago that we were changing the earth's climate) in order to spur the scientific community to investigate how real such dangers are. we can then use the tools of science (as the LHC advisory boards did) to determine what the probabilities are of worst case scenarios.

    unfortunately, people will always seize on rumors of end-times and ignore evidence to the contrary. but it's still good to be *appropriately* wary when creating conditions that may never before have occurred on earth (whether in a particle accelerator, in the oceans and atmosphere, or in a genetic engineering laboratory).

    Posted by: le_sacre | Sep 10, 2008 1:08:07 PM

  10. The Earth has already passed thousands of predicted expiration dates. The year 1000 was predicted as apocalyptic just as 2000 would later be. Some reactionaries predicted that mass telephone the television service would lead to the end of civilization as people became shut-ins and lost the ability to interact with each other. The one thing all the end of the world or end of civilization predictions have had in common is that to date they have all been wrong. Sure, someday the world will end and one of these predictions will then be proven correct, but the ratio of correct to incorrect will still be damned low.

    Posted by: Will | Sep 10, 2008 1:49:07 PM

  11. The headline is misleading here. They are just firing test beams at this point. They won't start colliding particles for a few weeks yet, and THAT is what some say could create mini black holes. I don't know of anyone who said the world would end after test-firing these beams.

    Posted by: Bakeley | Sep 10, 2008 2:03:53 PM

  12. MT, some physicists think it could happen and you call them ignorant reactionaries? I assume your authority on the subject comes from your vast knowledge of theoretical physics. It seems like every other day there's a new headline in the science pages about how researchers had previously thought A, but have discovered that the complete opposite, B, is in fact true--whether its in physics, biology, astronomy, medicine, etc. Personally I think it's unlikely the world will end, but I have little faith in the certainty of theoretical scientists. Our knowledge even at this point is far outweighed by our ignorance.

    Posted by: Tom | Sep 10, 2008 2:24:39 PM

  13. Or is it that humanity's collective knowledge is no match for YOUR ignorance?

    Get some humility and realize you don't know enough to assess the risk, and then trust the opinions of those who have the knowledge and expertise to understand the situation.

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 10, 2008 7:38:52 PM

  14. If there was really a danger, extraterrestrial aliens would have stopped us by now. Or maybe angels.

    Someone call up Palin's church in Wasilla, have them stop praying for the pipeline for a minute and start calling on God's protection from scientific research.

    Posted by: CW | Sep 10, 2008 7:41:43 PM

  15. The headline is totally misleading. Like some others have pointed out, the actual collision tests haven't even been performed yet. I'm really not sure why it is that we need to go about smashing atomic particles into each other anyway. Obviously humanity hasn't learned the lesson from the Atomic bomb that just because you can do something it doesn't mean that you should. I bet most of the folks that created such monsterous pain and despair had to have felt like total shitbags deep down in their souls. I don't know, it's crazy, we can push particles around a tube at near light speed, but can't manage to teach most Americans how to read. Mind blowing.

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 10, 2008 9:41:26 PM

  16. PS
    Wouldn't it be hilarious if the collision just produced a picture of Jesus?

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 10, 2008 9:50:05 PM

  17. Funny you should say that because Higgs is called the "God" particle.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 10, 2008 11:23:36 PM

  18. Given that the major unified psychics and Mayan calendar prediction is for the world to snuff it on Dec. 21st, 2012 (12/21/12), it seems unlikely that a few researchers will be able to pre-empt what has been ordained on the Discovery and History Channels. Don't try to argue quantum physics when the chick freaking out and stoned on gas from the crack in the oracle chamber is saying you have 4 years before it all ends.

    Posted by: Will | Sep 11, 2008 4:44:20 AM

  19. Isn't it called the Hadron Collider? So the "First Hadron Collider Test" would not be misleading at all.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Sep 13, 2008 8:30:03 PM

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