Quite surprised to learn that a lot of people -quite well educated people, some of them, believe that the starting up of the Large Hadron Collider may bring about a catastrophic event that could pretty much wipe the world out. We (or some of us) seem to need to believe in these ‘end of the world’ scenarios. The arrival of the year 2000 was going to create havoc with our technology, endangering civilisation. Before that, we lived under the shadow of the (rather real) threat of nuclear obliteration during the Cold War. No way of knowing how close we may have been but for a lot of people it was quite real and even immediate, imminent, inevitable. It didn’t happen, at least then. There’s been many times through history when people have made predictions of doom and right now, apart from the LHC, we are expecting the onset of a catastrophic climate change (a real risk as far as a layman like myself can tell, but I’m really talking about perception and our possible need for the doomsday scenario), or even the possibility of Earth being hit by an asteroid (which, again, is very possible and has happened many times in the past, but ..) and, for some, an imminent fulfilling of the Biblical Apocalypse.
It is bad enough that life is short and to a large extent out of our control as individuals... it seems to me far more useful to us to live our lives in the understanding that our world will end one day, yes, but without obsessing about things that are completely out of our control or creating the ghosts of deadly dangers where there are none . And of course I don’t think that in the case of the LHC it is going to bring about the end of the world. It may or may provide some answers to our curiosity, perhaps help throw hints at the answers for a few very big questions and, in due time, the science it helps produce may bring about some unexpected practical benefits * -and yes, some unexpected dangers or inconveniences, as those things always do. That’s it.
* Who ever mentions Teflon gets shot... :P