baudrunner's space: The audacity of two dopes
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Monday, April 7, 2008

The audacity of two dopes

A surprising story that actually made the news, including in an MSNBC news column called "Cosmic Log" on March 27/08 concerned certain legal action being taken against the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). That one of the proponents of the law suit is a former nuclear safety officer by the name of Walter Wagner leaves one to wonder how any hiring process could ever allow a space cadet like Wagner to slip between the cracks. One would assume that a certain degree of knowledge pertaining to the fields of astro physics and nuclear physics be a mandatory requirement for such a sensitive position.

Wagner and co- fear mongerer Luis Sancho filed the lawsuit in Hawaii's U.S. District Court - never mind that this is CERN's baby, just because a few American scientists are involved in the program. Apparently these two pinheads believe that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is scheduled to be powered up this summer could conceivably create a mini black hole that could swallow the world and everything in proximity to it right up and only burp it back in streams of energy particles and X-rays.

Everything which the scientific community professes to know about the origins of black holes can be summed up by saying that they are what happens when a neutron star collapses in on itself, creating an intense gravity well known as a singularity such that the outermost electrons are literally stripped from the nuclei of incoming particles once they pass what is called an event horizon and therefore light cannot be emitted from a black hole. The operative words here of course are "collapsing neutron star".

Our very own sun at its centre is undergoing such enormously energetic reactions under such intense internal gravitic stress as to be simply unimaginable. It takes about 10 million years for light that originates at the center of our sun to reach its surface, such is the effect of its gravity on time and EM wave propagation. And yet the sun will probably never turn into a black hole.

Notwithstanding that we can exceed the temperatures which we presume to exist at the sun's core in the lab and indeed have done so, there is absolutely no reason to believe that it is possible to create a sustainable black hole that could swallow up our world with only the masses of nuclear particles to work with in the Large Hadron Collider. Wagner and Sancho are inadvertently portraying themselves as attention-seeking sensationalists and to take them seriously simply isn't an option. I wouldn't sit in their camp for an instant and only because I will not be a candidate for self-ridicule.

How preposterous. Just for the sake of argument - and believe me, this scenario would not ever be realized - if the LHC were to 'accidentally' create a black hole which was beginning to swallow up particles (ridiculous) then the solution would simply be to turn the damn thing off. Wagner is alluding to a physics which simply doesn't exist. His high camp theorizing of strangelets and magnetic monopoles remind me of that old saw, "Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach."

This is not the first doomsday warning against the kind of nuclear research planned at CERN. Paul Dixon, a psychology professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has been warning for decades that Fermilab's Tevatron is a super-nova waiting to happen. He has submitted an affidavit supporting Wagner's and Sancho's LHC lawsuit, who incidentally are also both Hawaiian. What's with these remote islanders? Does out of reach of the world equate with being out of touch with reality? I hope for the sake of every one's credibility that these lawsuits do not go beyond the Weekly World News stage, which is where they belong.

What nut bars.

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