Tuesday, April 01, 2008

See You in Court

Unless we're right:
A giant particle accelerator that mimicks the effects of the "Big Bang" could destroy all life on Earth by sucking it into a black hole, a lawsuit claims.

Walter Wagner, who runs a botanical garden on Hawaii's Big Island, and Luis Sancho, a Spaniard, have asked for an injunction to prevent the European Centre for Nuclear Research, or Cern, starting up the Large Hadron Collider.

The accelerator, which will be the world's most powerful particle smasher, is due to begin hurling protons at each other at its base outside Geneva this summer.

Physicists hope that the device, which has taken 14 years and £4 billion to build, will provide clues to the universe's origins by mimicking its condition a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

....The... lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Honolulu, seeks a temporary restraining order banning Cern from finishing the accelerator until it has produced a safety report and an environmental assessment.

Defendants named in the suit are Cern, the US Department of Energy, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the National Science Foundation. The US Justice Department said it would represent the Energy Department at a meeting over the lawsuit in Hawaii in June.

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