Hold on, I’ve just found out some worrying news from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This mammoth experiment goes online in one month and two days and I don’t think we’ve fully grasped what this machine is going to do.
It will kill hadrons, by their millions.
I know, I felt the same way. What kind of deprived mind would think up such a plan? There we are being told by the physicists that colliding hadrons at high energies will somehow benefit mankind. We are also being told by the doomsayers that the LHC will create a micro black hole, killing us all. But so far there has been little thought for the tiny elemental particles caught in the middle of all this. Do you think they want to be accelerated to the point where they resemble a wave more than a particle? No. Do you think they want to be bashed at high speed, splattering their innards around the inside of a detector chamber? No.
Please, spare a thought for all those innocent quarks, they don’t have a voice…
(Oh dear, here we go again…)
I must admit, I was tickled by this story. I stumbled across it after reading Phil Plait’s remarks about the painful undercurrent of doomsday theories that seem to be increasing in volume as the LHC approaches its first experiment. In fact, that date is fast approaching, as I mentioned on the Universe Today: The LHC goes online in one month! Personally, I’d love to be partying in Geneva that night…
To be honest, this article isn’t about the doomsday/conspiracy theorists (and that’s me being kind, Erich Stanhoffe who heads the LHC project is obviously very frustrated and said “We’ve got the wackos who think we’re going to rip a hole in the universe“), it’s about a group of people who have formed the hillarious organization called People for the Ethical Treatment of Hadrons (PETH). Yes, we now have a Greenpeace for quarks.
So what’s their purpose? PETH founder Tia Aumiller explains: “You’ve got these subatomic particles accelerated at great speeds for the sole purpose of being destroyed. No one thinks of the ethical implications of this. There’s a limited supply of hadrons in the universe. Do we just want to go around destroying them? What if we run out? What if the hadrons can feel pain? Will we look back at this hundreds of years from now and regret it? Kinda like we do with the killing of bacteria with antibiotics now.” O-k-a-y…
When asked about this, Stanhoffe probably needed a strong drink. He admitted that no research had been done into whether hadrons feel pain or whether they get travel sick, describing the notion as “patently ridiculous.” But just when I with thinking the members of PETH might be “ordinary, if a little eccentric, people,” Aumiller dropped this gem, “That’s what they said about the other group I founded, Mothers Against unDead Drivers, which warns people of driving while a zombie, but they’ll see.” She’s either nuts or got a superb sense of humour.
Although obviously unhinged, PETH is a welcome distraction from all this LHC doomsday nonsense (and yes, it is nonsense). But I feel I just need to point out to Aumiller, we are not going to run out of quarks (they are, quite literally everywhere), and as for them feeling pain, why don’t you just ask them?
Apparently “dozens” of protesters from PETH protested outside CERN HQ with cool slogans like “Don’t fark with the quark” (pictured top) and “Subatomic Pain is Still Pain,” sounds like a riot (and I don’t mean of the violent kind). So what are they going to do next? Crowdsurf into ATLAS, lie down in protest, blocking the accelerated beam of protons? Perhaps we’ll see protesters chained to the Swiss-Franco border (the French police tolerate that kind of thing, batons et tous…).