Science experiments can be super cool—but they can also be super dangerous. While many experiments could result in things like explosions, the meltdown of nuclear plants, or other catastrophes, one astronomer warns that particle accelerator experiments could result in a much more apocalyptic-level disaster.
What in the world is a particle accelerator?
Particle accelerator experiments have helped scientists discover a lot of new particles. These experiments are conducted by having particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, smash particles together at incredibly high speeds. Scientists then observe and document the fallout from the particle-smashing.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Bet your guidance counselor never told you that you could make a living by smashing things together. But these experiments are actually pretty risky.
Black holes, Earth-squishing, and space-destruction, oh my!
One astronomer has warned that these particle accelerator experiments could end in a variety of disasters for not only humankind, but all of space. One theory is that the particle-smashing could result in a black hole that would suck everything in. He also warns that the experiments could, under certain circumstances, produce particles that would react badly with the matter here on Earth. And by badly, he means it would squish all of Earth down into a sphere about the size of a soccer field.
Not only that, but the experiments could also result in a “phase transition” that could rip apart the very fabric of space. Not exactly your everyday science problem.
Should we be concerned?
All of these potentially apocalyptic disaster scenarios sound pretty scary. But luckily for us, the safety group in charge of overseeing these experiments says we have nothing to worry about—our planet isn’t going to get crushed by these experiments. Even the late Stephen Hawking said these experiments were just fine.
In fact, many of the processes carried out in the particle accelerator happen in the natural world every day, and Earth hasn’t been destroyed yet. So for the time being, it seems, we’re safe from any world-ending catastrophes.