The Reactivation Of The LHC Isn't Going To Open A Paranormal Portal That Rips The World Apart
Photo: © Maximilien Brice (CERN)
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been switched back on this week, which has caused a resurgence in the wild conspiracy theories and scare-mongering stories about the potential dangers of the project.
Housed at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), the huge circular tunnel, 175 meters underground beneath the borders of France and Switzerland is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
Inside the 17-mile-long tunnel particles are collided into one another at close to the speed of light, this results in the annihilation of the particles, allowing scientists to peak at the subatomic remains to get a better understanding of how the universe works.
The particle collider was first turned on in 2008 and since then we've had a decade of perfectly safe scientific experimentation, the likes of which has massively increased our understanding of the world around us and is sure to lead to the next leaps in the advancements of mankind.
At the end of 2018 the experiment was shut down so that improvements and updates could be made to the facility. Now after three years the LHC is being fired up again. This has lead some to pedal the theory that the particle accelerator could create a black hole which could swallow up Earth.
Within the ghost hunting community specifically it's been stated that the device could open a paranormal portal to another reality, perhaps even the infernal realm itself, literally unleashing Hell on Earth.
Perhaps fears are heightened due to the release of the latest season of 'Stranger Things'. The Netflix supernatural series sees a gang of kids in the town of Hawkins fight to contain the malevolent entities that exist in a dark and dangerous alternative dimension they call the Upside Down.
So is there any truth in this claim? Are we just days away from seeing a gateway ripped open unleashing the evils of the Upside Down?
Well, no, and it's not the first time people have been concerned about this.
The LHC is often credited as breaking new ground in the search for dark matter. This statement alone seems to alarm some within the paranormal field who take the word "dark" to mean evil or malevolent, rather than its intended meaning of being undetectable.
The fear mongering began online and in the press back in 2008 around the time the experiment was turned on for the first time, and as we now know, nothing went wrong and the solar system wasn't sucked into a dark abyss.
A lot of those who share these doomsday theories online often do so with the comments, "they shouldn't be messing with things they don't understand." But the thing is, the scientists involved do understand it. It's actually those who don't understand what's happening under Switzerland that are scared of it.
The LHC isn't something that a bunch of scientists dreamt up and said "let's turn it on and see what it does." The facility was designed and built to experimentally prove pre-existing hypothesis. That is to say, we predicted the results of the LHC, but we couldn't prove we were right until we tested it experimentally with a particle accelerator of this size.
In fact, CERN's first discovery was the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson. Scientists have known that this elusive particle should exist since 1964, but they couldn't find it until the LHC was turned on. So in fact, scientists knew for over four decades before the accelerator was completed what it would do.
Out across the gulf of space, black holes form when an unimaginably massive star, far far bigger than even our own Sun, collapses in upon itself. The LHC is nothing like the same scale, in fact the experiments deal with unimaginably small particles.
There are some valid theories that the experiment could lead to the formation of 'quantum' black holes, or unimaginably small black holes. Scientists aren't at all sure if quantum black holes can exist, but if they do appear they would be perfectly safe and would give scientists a chance to learn about nature's most mysterious force – gravity.
"The creation of a quantum black hole at the LHC would be very surprising, but very exciting indeed."
The particle smashing that takes place in the LHC also occurs naturally all the time and has no negative impact on our lives. The LHC creates cosmic rays under controlled lab conditions and crashes them into things. Out in the real world, the Earth is constantly being bombarded by naturally occurring cosmic rays from the Sun and we're all still here.
If you're still worried that the end is near, then it might interest you to know that the particle collider was actually switched back on in April and has been safely running for over two months. All that changes this week is that the accelerated particle beam within has been deemed to be stable, so the experimenters can start collecting data again.
So the good news is, the LHC isn't going to open a vortex that spews out dark, malevolent energy capable of destroying all life on Earth, which is great because it means you'll still be able to go ghost hunting at the weekend.
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