Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I learned from a colleague today that the world will disappear into a black hole in the next month or two. A giant particle accelerator was switched on today in Switzerland, but it's what will happen next that worries my co-worker. By November the researchers will begin the actual collisions of their particles in the accelerator, and that's when a black hole might form "accidentally." Today's New York Times article tries to reassure us by pointing out that since the 1840s there have been similar predictions of scientific doomsdays that, of course, didn't live up to their hype. I really don't think that being sucked into a black hole is such a bad way to go--you and everyone you know (including Sarah Palin and Charlie Sheen) would disappear in less than a second. We wouldn't even know that we had ever existed, nor would anyone else. In fact, your perception that you are reading this blog might just be the remnants of a dream that is drifting around in the emptiness of the universe forever. And, isn't the risk of our complete annihilation really worth it, if it means that we may finally get to learn whether the Higgs boson actually exists?