Tuesday will be a big day at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), far and away the most powerful particle-punisher ever assembled by the human race. For the first time ever, boffins operating the colossal machine will cross the streams produced in its twin mighty hadron cannons, colliding particles at never-before-seen 7 Tera-electron-Volts (TeV) energies.
Among scientists this is expected to produce nothing more than interesting showers of sub-subatomic particle frag, which will be scanned by the LHC's titanic subterranean detector arrays and the ensuing data crunched by CERN's huge international supercomputing grids.
In time, perhaps, the elusive Higgs boson might be found or not found, so conclusively settling the long-running grudge match between boffinry heavyweight Professor Higgs and his nemesis, famed wheelchair robovoice savant Stephen Hawking.
Alternatively, reputable scientists have assured us here on the Reg boffinry desk that interdimensional portal invasion of some sort might well be on the cards, though most likely of a type so very minuscule and brief as to be rather disappointing.
But there are others who foresee more serious problems. These days the Tinfoil Torch seems to have passed from the hand of eccentric Hawaii-based botanist, lawyer and soi-disant physicist Walter L Wagner to that of the man known simply as "Doctor Dark Energy"*.
The Doctor contends that the LHC may trigger a "magnetic trap of devil" event, destroying the Earth or anyway some part of it in a "collaptic explosion". Evidently his previously announced plans to extirpate CERN head Rolf Heuer "and all his bigbangers" using a nuclear weapon borrowed from Osama bin Laden have run into trouble, because he has now issued a final doomsday prophecy before the Big Collision tomorrow, at the LHC Portal forum.
According to Dr Energy:
I give about 50% that the dangerous microscopic object will be created. It will grow, ruining the ordinary matter, and can ruin our planet or a part of it. Here is my crude estimation of probable outcomes:
1. Explosion of the whole Earth – 49%. 2. Extermination of Geneva – 1%. 3. Extermination of Europe – 1%. 4. Other harmful unpredictable consequences – 5%. 5. Discovery of new subnuclear energy sources – 5%. 6. Outcomes with no harm and no use – the rest.
At the point 1 we all will die. At the points 2, 3, 4 a part of humanity will be killed. Destruction of a part of the Earth will be followed by huge Earthquake all over the Earth. To raise the probability of survival it is necessary to be at the free air with the stalk of water, food and warm clothes.
The doc seems to have adopted a fatalistic attitude himself, saying that his "health is already ruined by depression ... I can not save myself".
Given the rather rosier view of the LHC's consequences painted by more or less every serious physicist who has considered the matter, however, we'd suggest that there'll be no need to.
Of course, there have been many cliffhangers and last-minute mishaps at the LHC in the past. It's entirely possible that agents of the possible interdimensional police, seeking to prevent humanity acquiring dimension portal capabilities before we're ready for it, will step in again: either once again deploying feathered baguette-packing saboteurs, or perhaps varying their methods this time.
Even if the 7 TeV collisions go off without a hitch, we can expect plenty more tinfoil frolics over the next couple of years as the day of the even more powerful 14 TeV particle-punching - which the LHC was designed for but can't yet carry out safely - gradually draws near. ®
*Though of course he faces stiff opposition in the fruitcake rankings from retired chemistry prof Otto Rössler, who feels that LHC boffins might avoid imploding the Earth only to carelessly compact the Moon down to the size of a pea, or perhaps put out the Sun.