“Anyone Who Thinks the LHC Will Destroy the World is a Twat.”

Brian Cox giving an inspiring talk (TED)
Brian Cox giving an inspiring talk (TED)

I’m a huge fan of Brian Cox. He’s often referred to as the “rockstar of physics,” which is a big complement considering the stereotypical physicist in everyone’s mind. From the get-go you know that Professor Cox is a guy you want in your laboratory, and you can see why from this excellent TED lecture he gave in Monterey, CA, this year. He is a tireless advocate of communicating science to the world and his outreach style is second-to-none. But like many modern scientists who are working on cutting-edge research, they are often at the mercy of public misconception, media hype and personal attacks. So when I hear news that some Large Hadron Collider (LHC) physicists are receiving death threats, I lose my faith in humanity…

I can see why people protest at a missile silo being built on their doorstep. I can even see why activists may cause disruption to the operations of an animal testing guinea pig farm. But I seriously have no idea why the LHC has generated such incredible fear amongst the ill-informed. So let’s get straight to the point:

THE LHC WILL NOT HURT ANYONE, IT WILL NOT DESTROY THE EARTH, IT WON’T EVEN DISRUPT YOUR CELLPHONE SIGNAL. THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER IS SAFE.

I know I said that I wouldn’t post another article about the stupid ideas that something bad will happen when the LHC is turned on, but I am blown away by the balls a Daily Mail (UK) journalist has to publish this corker of an article with the title: “Are we all going to die next Wednesday?” The Daily Mail is not a crank newspaper in the UK, it is one of the widest read tabloids in the country. I’m not sure which one shocks me the most; the fact there are mainstream journalists out there who publish scaremongering articles in major publications, or that the article will be read by millions of ordinary people surfing the web or reading the paper with their morning cup of tea.

Sure, the Daily Mail is known for a few “out there” articles, but this only panders to the senseless paranoia being spread by Rossler et al.. The funniest thing is, the author of the Mail article admits right at the end that, “…this is not a threat taken seriously by the scientists at CERN. When I visited the place a couple of years ago, to see the collider being built, any mention of mini-black holes and other risks elicited only raised eyebrows and shrugs of derision.”

So, this really is the last negative-LHC article I intend to write on Astroengine, only the good stuff from now on. I’ll leave you with a wonderful quote from Professor Cox I found in a more reputable UK new source. I get the impression even Brian is feeling the strain from the few idiotic doomsayers

Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat.” – Brian Cox

Superb!

61 thoughts on ““Anyone Who Thinks the LHC Will Destroy the World is a Twat.””

  1. In September 11th, when anything has happened, all this stuff will be shifted to another future date. And so on…maybe when it has been shifted 3 or 4 times, people forget this issue.

  2. All the doomsday prognosis is GREAT, Ian. All publicity is GOOD publicity. All the fuzz will inspire some curious minds and make them head over to physics. I’m sure of it! 🙂

  3. I totally agree with you on the publicity front, the only problem is the fear that is being needlessly kicked up by certain reckless journalists when they publish doomsday articles. I just cant wait until 2010 when the LHC is at full capacity and the LHC lawsuit is a mere memory (I wonder what Walter Wagner will be suing then?!!)

    Cheers! Ian

  4. “science: if you’re not pissing people off, you’re not doing it right” -xkcd.org

    Actually, does anybody know who came up with this LHC-apocalypse idea?

    It reeks of soccer mom… or creationist. then again it’s too damn widespread for that.

  5. @Matthew:- Well, yes, I would agree with you on that. Unfortunately it really is considered to be a reliable source of news; even the tabloids need to take some responsibility for publishing damaging articles…

  6. hhhmmmm?????
    who is to say that it “wont” destroy the earth?
    its easy to jump on the side of science when those people spend their entire careers making sense of things we do not understand.
    And its just as easy to make doubt and make fun of those that dont know “tw*t” about science yet spend their entire lives being loyal to their religious beliefs!…..dont you ignorant people get it?….its about science to scientists….and its about scripture to religious people.

  7. > “The Daily Mail is not a crank newspaper in the UK, it is one of the widest read tabloids in the country.”

    Sadly, the Daily Mail *is* a crank newspaper in the UK, and one with such a wide readership that politicians of every colour have to pay heed to it.

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  9. I don’t like the Daily Mail any more than any of you, but it’s an attention grabbing headline that will make people read about the LHC.

    and at the end of the article (presumably if you really thought the world might end next Wednesday you’d bother to read it all…)

    it says:
    All have concluded that there is no measurable risk whatsoever. Perhaps the best argument against the LHC doomsday scenario is that cosmic rays – natural high-energy particles from space – smash into the Earth’s atmosphere all the time with far, far more energy than will be generated by this machine.

    If it were possible to create a dangerous black hole by simply bashing atomic particles together, this would have happened naturally long ago, and we wouldn’t be here to build this particle accelerator in the first place. So we are safe.

  10. I think now that the word ” Twat” should be designated technical credibility as a unit of stupidity, especially pertaining to tabloid journalists. The tabloids could then rate their hacks on the Brian Cox ” Twat” scale. This would give an index of how much plausibility to give the author of a given article.

  11. I hear the ‘Sci-Fi Channel’ has commissioned a feature length drama entitled ‘CERN – The Countdown to Destruction’.

    It’s due to air this fall.

  12. “The Daily Mail is not a crank newspaper in the UK,”

    Ummmm………. yes it is. In fact it’s a crank newspaper wherever you read it in the world.

  13. LHC final launch at the end of 2008 can have really frightining consequences:

    Even though the odds of the black hole appearing are not that high, did anyone ask you if you’re willing to trust a bunch of scientists with your life just so that they can test their theories? I hope that

    anyone who cares about the future will take an action. Please suggest your ideas (legal, etc) on how to do this. I hope that if enough of us stand united against CERN, the organization behind LHC, we will be

    able to save our planet.

  14. Seems to me like scientists trying to stir up controversy so as to justify more funding…. I don’t think people are that interested…. But they are interested when they get taxed and that tax money builds a great waste of money.

    That money was peoples electricity bills, baby cloths, grocery money, house payments….etc.

    Instead taxes went up, or something important to them never got built, so the socialist elite and their pet scientists could build a collider…. I think the scientists should have built it themselves and sought sponsorship from companies…. If they failed… Then no collider…. It must be a really nice feeling to be paid to do your hobby and get the government to get taxpayers to pay for it.

    … But of course they will think they are much to important for the criticism…. No doubt.

  15. of course it might destroy the world according to Einstein’s relativity…
    black holes dont depend on size to keep growing as mass bombs at c-speed.
    M=e/c2. In fact, big bang models use singularities at planck scale (Guth).
    Hawking has always proved wrong and his concept that undetermined particles
    travelling faster than light evaporate the black hole is pure speculation. Amazes me how physicists can take that risk based in theoretical assumptions. Deconfined quarks dont happen in nature, but might happen inside novas triggering the big-crunch at the
    same time than the big-bang: E=mc2 + M=e/c2, both go together… LHC is just a quark
    factory, and quarks provide a perfect model to explain novas creating strangelets, black
    holes and other possible types of dark matter. It is basically a big atomic gun but unlike
    other previous models it only needs to make enough deconfined quarks joined by the
    strong force to start a chain reaction, that is it only needs the detonator, the combustible
    are us

  16. where did you get your god awful information Paul, are you a scientist, cause i will give you quote to a real psysych and prove you wrong

    No offense man, but dont feed the trolls who spread lies and misinformation

  17. On Cox is cited saying: “When theories are shown to be false, the correct thing to do is to move on.” Else there are confessions about his confidence in engineers, and, of course, physicists are sensitive beings, bringing good to the world and its civilization. The cited statement as well as the TED talk are full of the common hybris. They deny to think about the globality of the potential threat, that way taking all other hostage. First, and second, sentence of their religolous confession: “The LHC is safe.” Based on what theory they claim that? The same wonderful theory which is incomplete, and, at best, inconsistent? The theory which is so incomplete that they started to think that they would need the LHC experiment? That’s a petitio principii, a silly circularity in the safety argument. Nobody knows for instance much about strongly-coupled Quark Gluon Plasmas. I expect Cox to have a “theory” on it. Ever tested it? Thats the first mistake of these oh so intelligent physicists. But there is a second serious mistake in the safety claims, proposed by all those awaiting the collisions like fanatics: (1) They do NOT take into account the experimental conditions. Only single collisions of protons are considered. Cosmic rays are not the same as the beam packages, the energy of a single collision is not the correct metric to speak about the collision, see overlapping sQGP. For instance. Ever seen a “cosmic ray” mead from lead ions? A cosmic ray consisting of 10e11 particles? At least 30 colliding very, very close to each other almost simultaneously? I think that nowhere in the universe (except another collider) these conditions will be met. We do know that the sQGP spreads to a diameter of the whole gold-nucleus, its not so tiny anymore. What about overlapping these exotics, to accumulate the energy density? (2) The surprises met concerning sQGP at the RHIC this October clearly shows, that the current theory should NOT extrapolated. To do so, even Cox get a victim of the “inductionist fallacy”. Reading D.Hume on that is recommended. —
    The LHC COULD be safe, nobody can honestly know. It could. Because there is a chance for basic failure of current theories, the threat is potentially a global one, the issue develops into an ethical, or political one. Here, all the physicists are simply ruthless. Its an ethical singularity yes, but we should deal with it not calling each other twats. Do you really trust a guy calling you a twat, and at the same time performing insane logics in a safety argument? I prefer not to.
    (more at lhc.blogsite.org)

  18. I was so worried over this it made me ill, but I am now comfortable with it, Dont believe everything you read find out from the people who know what they are talking about. The opinion of a nasa senior scientist is that it is safe and thats good enough for me.
    The real concern reguarding danger to our planet comes from asteroids and we should be more worried about this threat. W e should be pressuring our governments to act on this as a matter of urgency.

  19. Ian O’Neil proves nothing, ‘cept he can right a good piece. Cox proves nothing. As a pop star he was a nothing.. as a physicist, he is great tele.. the LHC is as capable of destroying us, as anything else man can create.
    Let’s face it.. we developed a bomb to do so.. then used it. We will kill ourselves off, it’s just a matter of time.
    As to the debate here.. Aw c’mon lets face it.. if Cox can’t take the opinion of other’s, he’s a twat.

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