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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BREAKING: CERN Shuts Down LHC Over Safety Fears

The world's largest physics experiment, the Large Hadron Collider, has been shut down again following fears over safety.

The Collider, which aims to discover the hidden secrets behind the Universe including the existence of dark matter, the conditions of the Big Bang and the postulated but as-yet unproved Higgs Boson particle, has been shut down for modifications after British safety experts expressed concern over the particle collision speeds.

Safety campaigner James Padding, from the UK's Speed Awareness Partnership, said that the speeds attained the accelerator, which is a 27km tunnel some 100m below ground, far exceed safe limits.

Mr Padding said, "the LHC accelerates protons to terrific speeds - close to the speed of light - and enormous energies of around 7 TeV. This cannot be safe. Our own research into speed indicates that there is a high risk of injury in over 80% of collisions occurring at velocities in excess of 40mph (60kmh). While we do appreciate that the neccessities of science requires higher collision speeds than this, the jump from a safe 30mph to 0.8c is simply unacceptable.

"Therefore, for reasons of safety we have ceased all experiments at CERN pending the implementation of an LHC-wide speed limit of 60mph (100kmh) on all protons, muons, gluons and other particles using the accelerator highway. This is to be enforced by a tunnel-wide system of GATSO cameras to spot speeding particles. It's the only way to ensure that collisions are as safe as possible for the particles concerned."

Steve Myers, CERN's director for accelerators, said that they understood the Speed Awareness Partnership's position, and would be amending their experimental protocols to comply.

Mr Myers said, "obviously safety is a primary concern, so the LHC will no longer be looking to recreate the Big Bang - instead, we'll try and identify the conditions of a minor bump."

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