Maria Williams writes to tell us about worry surrounding the impending startup of CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Some fear that the device, in creating mini black holes, could jeopardize Life As We Know It. While the tiny black holes should evaporate quickly — throwing off so-called Hawking radiation that can be detected — CERN software developer Ran Livneh reminds us that "Any physicist will tell you that there is no way to prove that generated black holes will decay." The LHC site assures us there's nothing to worry about. The flap is reminiscent of the time the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider went live. The worry then was that "negative strangelets" could gobble up the world.
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