“World ends, film at eleven!” Look for that promo Wednesday night if the critics’ frightening predictions come true when CERN starts the first injection of a beam through the Large Hadron Collider a few hours from now, at 9:30 Central European Time.
The Geneva-based particle physics laboratory has stressed in a peer-reviewed report the soundness and safety of the project. But the media’s morbid fascination with the possibility of – almost a longing for – a disaster has prompted one service to offer live video of the LHC startup, while CERN has promised journalists satellite uplink will be provided throughout the day by Eurovision.
But when it comes to discussing the Large Hadron Collider, quite in contrast to other scientific controversies of the day, say, global warming, the left and right wings of the sf community are surprisingly in agreement that there’s little reason to get in an uproar.
Cheryl Morgan scoffed at “A Nation of Doomsayers” while pointing out The Guardian’s silly opinion poll that poses two extreme choices: “Are you worried the atom smasher will unwittingly destroy the planet or is that scientifically illiterate, millenarian twaddle – which is it to be?”
Similarly, Jerry Pournelle showed how unworried he is by ironically commenting:
Well, according to a German chemist it won’t matter since they will create a Quasar in the center of the Earth, and in a few years we’ll see light beams coming out of the oceans, after which we are all doomed.
The most reassuring prediction I’ve found about the imminent startup of LHC was Stephen Hawking’s $100 bet with Professor Gordy Kane, of