When the LHC is activated, it is hoped that the collider will produce the elusive Higgs boson — named the God Particle — and its observation of which could confirm the predictions and 'missing gaps' in the Standard Model of physics, and explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass. In other words, if they fill in the gaps, maybe all that God created world stuff will be, literally, story.
The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would be a significant step in the search for a Grand Unified Theory which seeks to unify three of the four fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. The Higgs boson may also help to explain why the remaining force, gravitation, is so weak compared to the other three forces.
As with previous particle accelerators, people both inside and outside the physics community have voiced concern that the LHC might trigger one of several theoretical disasters capable of destroying the Earth or even the entire Universe. This has raised controversy as to whether any such risks outweigh the potential benefits of constructing and operating the LHC.
Though the standard model predicts that LHC energies are far too low to create black holes, some nonstandard theories lower the requirements, and predict that the LHC will create tiny black holes, with potentially devastating consequences. The primary cause for concern is that Hawking Radiation - a postulated that says that any such black holes would dissipate before becoming dangerous, remains entirely theoretical. In academia, the theory of Hawking Radiation is considered plausible, but there remains considerable question of whether it is correct.
Other inferno scenarios say that:
* There will be creation of strange matter that is more stable than ordinary matter
* Creation of magnetic monopoles that could catalyze proton decay
* Creation of a strangelet
CERN has pointed out that the probability of such events is extremely small. One argument for the safety of colliders such as the LHC states that if the Earth were in danger of any such fate, the Earth and Moon would have met that fate billions of years ago due to their constant bombardment from space by protons, other particles, and cosmic rays, which are millions of times more energetic than anything that could be produced by the LHC.
Quantum calculations presented in the CERN report predict that:
* Any black holes created by the LHC are not expected to be stable and will not accrete matter.
* Any monopoles that could catalyse the decay of matter will quickly exit the Earth.
So, I say again, relax and enjoy.
24 days to go!