The LHC is set to go online in around two months time and the scientific world waits in anticipation for the first results. However, there are a few who are more concerned than excited for the LHC experiments. On Tuesday night, I was kindly asked to join the LHC debate with the prominent LHC critic, Walter Wagner on Captain Jack’s show Paranormal Radio. To be honest, I really enjoyed the open platform provided for me to ask Walter some questions about his forthcoming lawsuit against the US partners funding CERN. Mr Wagner is far from being a fantasist or “crank” (as I’ve seen unkindly written in some of the media), but his views are more in the realms of speculation, rather than being based on the actual physics predicted to come out of the LHC.
Today, science reporter David Fuller with the UK news channel ITN contacted me to say that he had covered Walter’s story in a news item for Channel 4. He put together a very balanced report that should allay any fears that micro black holes or strangelets could be produced by this awesome experiment in the search for the Higgs boson…
I was a little uncertain about what to expect when asked to chat with Walter Wagner. I have previously covered his much publicised lawsuit, citing it as an extreme overreaction by the Hawaii-based teacher/lawyer. On listening to his answers to my questions, the first thing that struck me was the breadth of knowledge he had on the subject, but he didn’t change my optimism for the LHC.
His main concern is that insufficient safety measures have been taken when considering what might come from these high-energy collisions; Wagner wants 100% certainty that the LHC is safe. The first issue I have with this is that we can never declare any physics experiment 100% safe, after all, we are probing beyond anything we have been able to experience in history. Using the LHC to recreate some of the conditions the moment after the Big Bang is based on robust physics theory. Micro black holes and strangelets are not. These are purely speculative particles. Even if a micro black hole could be produced, robust physics theory predicts they will fizz out of existence in an instant. There is practically no way strangelets can be produced (LHC energies are too low).
Regardless, I admire Wagner’s spirit, he is following through with a lawsuit he believes in, regardless of the opposition he is facing from the vast majority of the science community. So, now for the excellent Channel 4 news report by David Fuller: