Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday may be fast approaching, but this has not stopped him keeping up to date with the latest scientific advances. Yesterday when I visited him at his blog, I found he had written an item on the large hadron collider (LHC) – or, more correctly, a piece on the hysteria that this particular piece of equipment has generated.
The LHC is a huge particle accelerator, buried under Switzerland. Scientists pressed the ‘on’ switch a couple of days ago; they hope to use the LHC to study the conditions that would have prevailed immediately after the ‘big bang’ that began our universe. This all sounds very worthy and straightforward (although I must confess a sneaking little thought that there are so many other worthy causes upon which the money might have been spent). However, it has been the cause of a great deal of concern, based on the idea that the LHC could generate black holes that could swallow up the Earth. From the inside.
Mr Darwin made some excellent comments on this, & I raised a glass of sherry to him (well, actually, it was rum-&-coke…).