The European Organization for Nuclear Research – better known as CERN – plans to press a Big Red Button on Wednesday, accelerating protons to within a whisker of the speed of light then smashing them against each other to recreate conditions similar to those just after the Big Bang.
Naturally, this has brought the doomsayers out in force, with claims that the Large Hadron Collider could destroy the universe. Some have even gone to court for an injunction.
One of the guys in charge of pressing the Big Red Button is an Irishman. Stephen Myers spoke on RTE Radio One this evening about the Centre’s plans.
Myers is quite bemused at the media attention the latest CERN project attracted, much of which he attributed to Dan Brown’s book, Angels and Demons, soon to be a movie starring Tom Hanks.
The BBC plans to broadcast an episode of Dr Who spinoff Torchwood to coincide with the pressing of the Big Red Button. The Torchwood team will investigate the disappearance of scientists after the Collider is switched on.
Which makes me wonder what should I make of Myers’ assurance that next Wednesday’s event is merely a test, to check for problems like ‘reversed polarity‘.