Is the Large Hadron Collider Dangerous to Earth – No

The search for the Higgs boson using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is highly unlikely to have any effect on the Earth at all. On a cosmic scale the energy and other effects produced by particle collisions within the LHC are miniscule. Tiny black holes should they be produced would evaporate in nanoseconds since even the total mass of the Earth would be insufficient to sustain them. Some high energy particles would be produced that would be capable of passing through the Earth and our bodies almost unhindered; but this is happening all the time from cosmic radiation. Astronauts probably face far greater risks than would anyone working in close proximity to the LHC.

The justification for spending billions of dollars on an experiment which has every chance of failing to achieve its primary purpose is questionable. The Higgs boson may simply not exist despite all the claims of those physicists whose reputations and careers are now on the line. Should the current LHC fail there is always the potential for physicists to claim that what we really need is an even larger and more energetic collider. Since Colliders were first developed they have increased enormously in size and power, and the costs have soared. The next generation of Colliders are likely to cost trillions of dollars rather than billions; money which may be better used for more humanitarian purposes. It is difficult to justify such huge expenditure on theoretical physics when more than half the world’s population is living in poverty.

Apart from any arguments about the potential dangers to Earth, or inappropriate use of financial resources, there are several scientific arguments which can be used against the use of the LHC. Firstly, the ideas behind the project are far from convincing. Mathematicians and some physicists are persuaded that symmetry is the key that will unlock the secrets of the universe. The Higgs boson is the missing particle in this search for symmetry. However, the universe as we observe it seems far from symmetrical in some of its aspects. The fact that we seem to live in a universe made of matter rather than anti-matter provides one example of a large scale asymmetry. Although most particles have been shown to have corresponding antiparticles, example of electrons and positrons, the preponderance of one over the other does not suggest symmetry. Electrons are classified as fermions, particles which demand their own space based on the Exclusion Principle. Photons are bosons, like the elusive Higgs boson, particles which readily share space. Anti-photons, if they exist, would combine with photons and leave darkness in the place of light. Now there is a scary thought.