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Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Speaking of Cosmics…

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

As reported in the Times (which generally makes things “real”, at least in the US, right?), the CERN-appointed LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has finally come out with its report.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can achieve an energy that no other particle accelerators have reached before, but Nature routinely produces higher energies in cosmic-ray collisions. Concerns about the safety of whatever may be created in such high-energy particle collisions have been addressed for many years. In the light of new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has updated a review of the analysis made in 2003 by the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists.

LSAG reaffirms and extends the conclusions of the 2003 report that LHC collisions present no danger and that there are no reasons for concern. Whatever the LHC will do, Nature has already done many times over during the lifetime of the Earth and other astronomical bodies. The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, its Council.

“Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists”. It almost makes the LHC sound boring since it’s been done over and over again and nothing “happened”. Fine, no one was looking in the right place, and individual microscopic collisions generally have no macroscopic effects (right?) but still. In any case, I think it’s great that CERN has really rolled up their sleeves and addressed this issue head-on. I’ll report back after having a chance to read it more carefully — but I’m already psyched finally to see the inclusion of actual RHIC data!

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