CERN sued by European Court of Human Rights over Large Hadron Collider

Article here.

On top of that, a new research paper has concluded that “at the present stage of knowledge there is a definite risk from mBHs production at colliders.”

Report here (Warning - PDF)

Does this change anyone’s mind about this device or are you still certain of its safety?

I’d be willing to wager money that the earth will NOT be destroyed. Any takers? :smiley:

Are the people filing the suit stupid or is it some kind of feel-good hippie organization or something?

The collider poses risks to the EU? What, are the black holes just going to swallow Europe and then evaporate?

Put it in context - we’re all doomed.

Well, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, innit? The only good way to show that the Earth will be destroyed by an atom smasher will be to present all the previous times the Earth has been destroyed by cosmic radiation an order of magnitude stronger.

What does worry me here, though, are the charges of pollution. I vaguely recall reading about how construction of a power plant in France was held up for while because a claim was made that a town a few miles away would receive a measurable dose of radiation.
The defense pointed out that actual amount over the course of a day would be about half of what one would get from the Sun.
In winter.

The authors of the suit rebutted that humans had evolved protection to the radiation they receive from the Sun, but had no defenses whatsoever against radiation of a minuscule dosage.

Upshot was that the government had to delay the groundbreaking for a few months, until they successfully contested charges of freakin’ homeopathy. :smack:

Is there any actual difference between the collisions that the LHC would create, and the ones that are supposedly already being caused by “cosmic rays?” Other than that the latter are more powerful?

Weeeell, the LHC would create artificial collisions instead of natural ones, and as we know if it’s natural (or just has a NATURAL stamped on the label) it’s harmless or even beneficial for you, like such natural things as curare, magma or ebola. :dubious:

Physically, no. The same types of collisions (i.e. involving the same particles) the LHC can produce occur naturally as well, and sometimes with energies orders of magnitude greater.

However, an argument has been made that since the cosmic ray/atmospheric particle collisions take place in a center of mass system with a very high speed relative to the earth, micro black holes created in those collisions just ‘zip away’ into deep space, while possible LHC-produced MBHs would be at rest with respect to the center of the earth; but that’s again not the whole story, since while it’s true that the center of mass of the LHC’s collisions is at rest with respect to the detectors, that’s not the case for the collision products, thus, generally, a black hole created during such a collision would still have a velocity greater than earth’s escape velocity (cf. this article).

But still, we don’t need to fear even black holes that would be created at rest relative to the earth, since our observational data is far larger than just ‘the earth’s made it so far’ – we can also say that ‘the rest of universe has made it so far’, since, if there was a possibility for such a black hole cataclysm, it should happen measurably often in the observable universe – i.e. especially objects with a high density, such as neutron stars, for example, should wink out of existence far more often than they appear to do, which is never.

Though I have to give the opposition credit, they managed to work the LHC into THREE of the five “most likely” possible doomsday scenarios. (It’s a comedy site, yes, but it’s usually intelligent enough that my eyes don’t roll out of my head).

I too realize that article is a joke but it raises a good point, one which I have discussed before many times, usually pertaining to this exact subject.

All of the LHC’s defenders keep saying that it can’t possibly pose a risk because if it did, then all these scientists involved in its creation and getting the funds for it approved and everything wouldn’t destroy the planet, would they? Why would scientists take such a huge risk like that? They’re smart people, right? They know what they’re doing, right?

Well…like I’ve said, scientists are not infallible and people shouldn’t act like they are. Scientists did the Tuskeegee Experiments and infected innocent blacks with diseases. Scientists a hundred years ago said that it was perfectly okay to buy heroin and cocaine and amphetamines at a pharmacy, and they endorsed all kinds of totally unhealthy and absurd practices like colloidal silver and phrenology and “racial Darwinism” or whatever it was called. Speaking of which - who was it again that carried out experiments on Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps? Uh…scientists. The Nazis’ policy of extermination and experiments on human subjects were carried out with the full and enthusiastic complicity of the German scientific establishment, which was widely considered to be the most advanced in the world at that time.

Ever hear of Unit 731? That was when the Japanese experimented on human subjects, and after they were caught by the Americans, we agreed to not prosecute them for war crimes if they allowed us to have all of their research findings.

Science and ethics are not inherently connected and have frequently been totally divorced from one another. This is why I do NOT put blind trust in any scientists and certainly not the ones involved with the LHC. Some peoples’ egos are surely huge enough that they would have no problem risking the destruction of the planet.

Soo… The LHC will destroy the world because of Hitler. Gotcha.

I casually looked at the first pages of the document the OP linked to, and the “doesn’t happen with neutron star” argument is addressed in it (I’ve no clue how well is addressed, I didn’t even try to read it).

Forgetting about war crime, I think he has a point. Society at large has a right and probably a duty to check on scientists (especially when we’re talking about the end of the world, but also concerning, say, genetic engineering, and a lot of other stuff that have or might have a significant impact on us). This control would usually be exerted by politicians (supposed to represent us) but also by courts. So, I’ve no problem with the issue being brought to the ECHR.

Nonsense! I run my LHC all the time and I dont get sucked into a b █

If that’s the point you chose to whittle from Argent Towers’ post, then yes, it’s a valid one, in principle.
But I was rather more objecting to his style of argumentation, which would, apart from scientists, also call into question the ethics of Americans for the slave trade and the mistreatment of American Indians, Germans for the Holocaust, and just about every other group of people you care to slice the populace into based on some heinous thing associated individuals have done however long ago. It’s a guilt by association argument – ‘members of group x did z, z is unethical, you belong to group x, therefore, you are unethical’.

Though it should also be mentioned that ‘society at large’ knows crap about science, and thus, you’d need scientists to check on scientists, which is of course perfectly reasonable and pretty much exactly what’s done now, except if all scientists are of questionable ethics merely by virtue of being scientists, following Argent’s line of reasoning.

From what I saw, the paper merely claims that it is as yet unknown whether cosmic rays of high enough energy reach a neutron star’s surface, which is true for all I know; however, I believe the argument should work equally well for white dwarves, which also don’t generally get gobbled up by black holes.

But the actual claim the paper is addressing is a different one anyway, namely that under certain conditions, a metastable mBH might be formed, which would radiate an enormous amount of energy while basically keeping itself alive feeding on surrounding matter – i.e. you’d have something like a constantly burning hydrogen explosion (in terms of magnitude, not mechanism). Those things, while devastating enough on an earthly scale, wouldn’t make an appreciable blip compared to the energy output of a white dwarf.

However, the way the paper is presented makes me suspect that it’s essentially an exercise in finding a theory where we can find a set of parameters that might allow the formation of a probably metastable black hole – essentially, the chosen model is a very specific and very unlikely one, with lots of arbitrary assumptions and parameters. That you can find such a theory probably isn’t all that surprising, but I don’t think that it increases the likelihood of something bad happening due to the LHC’s operation above the ‘well, all of your molecules could also spontaneously tunnel to Mars’-threshold.

This isn’t an ethical issue, though, it’s a survival issue. If the scientists get the planet destroyed, nobody commends them on their research.

Sure. So if the world blows up and all life blinks out of existance in an instant and everything that is just ceases to be, you owe me, like, a million bucks and stuff.

Or ignorant. Take your pick.

Well obviously they don’t think they’re going to destroy the world. But the Nazi scientists didn’t think they were going to get caught - they assumed that Germany would win the war and take over the world and they would be made heroes.