If you are reading this, the Earth has survived its gravest threat to date: the first “full proton beam injection” Sept. 10 at the Large Hadron Collider on the French/Swiss border.
According to some people—those scientists again—the LHC is only the coolest physics experiment ever. Physicists will use it to generate high-energy particle collisions in hopes of creating the elusive Higgs boson and unlocking the universe’s mysteries.
Critics think it may end up generating a big bogon instead. According to BYU emeritus professor H. Kimball Hansen, the LHC may create “strangelets”—theoretical particles which, if allowed to come into contact with normal matter, will convert the Earth into a hot, uninhabitable ball of “strange matter.” Which would be so freakin’ weird.
Other theorized dangers with non-zero probabilities: tiny black holes that will accumulate at the center of the Earth until they consume us all; “vacuum bubbles,” like Scrubbing Bubbles that work too well, making the universe too tidy to support life; and magnetic monopoles, which would travel around the world secretly erasing people’s favorite mix tapes.
Think of the LHC as the universe’s “Reset” key. Nice knowing you!