Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Quantum accidents

This could have been an April Fool's joke: some botanist sues CERN to delay the start of the Large Hadron Collider runs for an investigation of the risks of destroying the Earth. It is discussed all over internet, here is what the US LHC blog has to say, starting with a link to this extensive article (with a reference to Arthur C. Clarke at the end).

Particle physicists would not build this thing if they thought there would be a risk of destroying the world. The first time I heard this kind of worries mentioned was back in 2000 or so, it's not exactly a new idea.

Justina Robson creatively used this concept of a "quantum accident" at a particle accelerator in Keeping it Real. The story is set in a universe where the Superconducting Supercollider was actually funded and built in Texas (it doesn't look like it's going to happen in our world), an an accident in 2015 opens up a rift that puts different dimensions in contact which were previously mostly separated. Now we get contact with fairies, demons, elementals and elves! That's a whole lot better than being swallowed by a black hole. Good story, I will read the sequel as soon as I find it at the library.

Speaking of April Fools, don't forget Locus Online Special Features.

UPDATE: One day late, but this Black Hole Bomb "news item" was really funny.

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