By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Published: 10/19/2012 03:48 PM EDT on LiveScience
A woman concerned that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will create black holes and destroy the Earth lost a court appeal to shut the atom smasher down on Tuesday.
According to Phys Org, a higher administrative court in Muenster, Germany, rejected the German citizen's claims that the LHC, as it is known, will destroy the planet. The woman's attempts have also been rejected by a court in Switzerland.
"In view of the CERN safety reports for the years 2003 and 2008, a hazard of the proton accelerator LHC according to the state of science is impossible," writes the Justice Ministry of north Rine-Westphalia, translated from German by Google. (The LHC is located at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN.)
The LHC sits on the border between France and Switzerland. It consists of a 17-mile- (27-kilometer)-long underground ring lined with more than 9,000 magnets designed to smash particles together at high speeds. The purpose is to solve mysteries about the Big Bang, the origins of mass, and other basic physics questions. Most recently, the collider has been in the news for possibly discovering the Higgs Boson, a particle that theoretically gives other particles mass.
Before the atom smasher whirled to life in 2010, a number of LHC opponents raised fears that the instrument would have catastrophic consequences. A popular notion, that the collider would create mini black holes that would suck up the Earth, has been dismissed by experts as impossible. Even if the collider did manage to create a microscopic black hole, researchers have found that it would evaporate within one-trillionth or one-millionth of a second.
Another theory, that the LHC might produce a strangelet, a theoretical particle that would then convert everything it touched into more strangelets, has been likewise dismissed. Such theories have lost steam in the wake of two years of uneventful research at the LHC.
- Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth
- Wacky Physics: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature
- The Strangest Black Holes in the Universe
Also on HuffPost:
The Higgs Boson will be discovered—or not CERN scientists have estimated that, by the end of 2012 they will have narrowed down the range of possible masses of this elusive particle enough that they'll either find it or discover that they can't find it with the technology available. In either case, 2012 will be a huge year for particle physics and for human understanding of the universe in general.
China will ramp up its space program China will send two manned missions into space in 2012 for its Shenzhou program, which looks to flourish next year. These launches will be part of the same initiative that took Yang Liwei into orbit in 2003 and made China only the third country in the world to independently send a person into space. With NASA still soul-searching after the recent end of the Space Shuttle program, the Shenzhou program may be the beginning of a push to level the playing field, and 2012 will bring hints of how much success China can expect.
IBM will complete Sequoia supercomputer IBM expects that the device will set new records for processing rates, reaching a speed of 20 petaflops and doubling the processing speed of the current record holder. In 2009, <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/158790/us_orders_massive_supercomputer_to_manage_nuclear_stockpile.html" target="_hplink">PCWorld reported</a> that Sequoia will be "located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and used primarily to manage the U.S.'s aging stockpile of nuclear weapons." IBM has stated that the computer, which will occupy an area slightly larger than a tennis court, will also be used to study "astronomy, energy, the human genome and climate change." Image: A similar IBM supercomputer, via Argonne National Laboratory.
Alan Turing Year Alan Turing, perhaps the single most important figure in the history of computers, would turn 100 in 2012, and an international consortium has designated 2012 as Alan Turing Year. Turning is well-known for his key contributions to British cryptography during World War II; following his death, he became an important figure in the LGBT movement, having been driven to suicide after he was persecuted for being gay.
The Mars Science Laboratory will touch down NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will become the largest Mars rover ever to touch the red planet's surface when it lands on or around August 6, 2012. <a href="http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/" target="_hplink">According to NASA</a>, the purpose of the mission is to assess the habitability of the planet, conducting chemical, geological and meteorological analysis of data that its advanced equipment can gather. For more details on the equipment, see <a href="http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/instruments/" target="_hplink">the mission's website</a>.
The Piltdown Man hoax marks its 100-year anniversary In December, 1912, an amateur archaeologist named Charles Dawson presented fragments of a skull purportedly belonging to a 'missing link' to the Geological Society of London. It took over 40 years for the specimen to be conclusively labeled a hoax, and it turned out that the 'Piltdown Man' was nothing more than a human cranium, an orangutan's jaw and chimpanzee teeth. As one of the most famous scientific hoaxes of all time, this date was a landmark in the history of the dark side of science. The above video goes into further detail.
More science anniversaries In 1912, Casimir Funk first described vitamins and Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of continental drift (pictured). In 1812, Napoleon first authorized the use of what would become the metric system, Pierre-Simon Laplace laid the groundwork for much of statistics in his 'Théorie analytique des probabilités.'
More science birthdays In 1912, science celebrates the birth of Nobelists <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_T._Seaborg" target="_hplink">Glenn Seaborg</a> (pictured), <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman" target="_hplink">Milton Friedman</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Emil_Palade" target="_hplink">George Emil Palade</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Axelrod" target="_hplink">Julius Axelrod</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Mills_Purcell" target="_hplink">Edward Mills Purcell</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Kantorovich" target="_hplink">Leonid Kantorovich</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Emil_Bloch" target="_hplink">Konrad Emil Bloch</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_C._Brown" target="_hplink">Herbert C. Brown</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Luria" target="_hplink">Salvador Luria</a>, as well as rocket scientist <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun" target="_hplink">Werner von Braun</a>
<strong>The world won't end</strong> When December 21, 2012 comes and goes without the earth <a href="http://news.discovery.com/space/david-morrison-nibiru-2012.html" target="_hplink">colliding into a planet</a> or getting sucked into a black hole (as some predictions suggest) it will be a good day for science. Ever since theories of the 2012 armageddon came into public consciousness, astronomers have been hard at work dispelling the claims. The ancient Mayan calendar (a part of which is pictured above), which will complete a cycle of its longest measurement of time on that date, is used as evidence of the impending doomsday scenarios. <a href="http://www.anthro.psu.edu/faculty_staff/docs/Webster_GermanyMaya.pdf" target="_hplink">Scholars of ancient Mayan culture</a> (link in PDF), however, have noted the absurdity of this claim and its <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-03-27-maya-2012_n.htm" target="_hplink">similarity</a> to the panic surrounding Y2K.