The safety of the LHC and particle collision
Of course, when dealing with such high amounts of energy and expensive, powerful equipment, the question becomes: is all this safe? The short answer is yes but that hasn’t stopped people from hypothesizing any number of doomsday scenarios.
Well-known scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Neil Degrasse Tyson have proposed possible catastrophic events that could occur as a result of the LHC’s use, including the formation of mini black holes, the obliteration of the Earth, and the production of destructive theoretical particles known as “strangelets.” Hawking has also warned the Higgs Boson is a dangerous and potentially destructive discovery, and should be left alone.
However, two American Physical Society-endorsed reviews commissioned by the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) have cleared the LHC of any safety concerns. In fact, as pointed out within the reports, the types of particle collisions the LHC produces happen constantly throughout the universe and resemble the collisions between ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and the Earth, which occur at speeds far greater than what the LHC accomplishes.
Such concerns from major scientific figures has lead to a glut of conspiracy theories regarding the LHC. The more creative theories around the internet claim CERN is using the LHC to open portals to Hell, to transport us to alternate realities, and to communicate with malicious beings. These, however, only scratch the surface. The fact researchers openly discuss the possibility the LHC helps discover proof of multiple universes or other dimensions within our own only adds fuel to the conspiratorial fire.
A prominent aspect of many of these conspiracy theories is CERN’s connection to the Hindu Goddess of creation and destruction, Shiva, who serves as the mascot for the LHC and has a statue erected in the entrance to the LHC. Many claim this is a subtle admission there is something far more other-worldly happening at CERN. In reality, the statue’s presence is easily explained; it was a gift from the government of India in celebration of the LHC’s completion and CERN felt Shiva’s status as goddess of creation and destruction was an appropriate metaphor for the LHC’s function.