Gallery I
An Ulitimate Weapon
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Will The Hadron Collider Produce New Military Weaponry?

By James Donahue

At the last count, as scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at Geneva began gearing up for full-power tests early next year, an estimated $12 billion has been spent on this massive, 17-mile-long underground machine.

Its purpose, world physicists tell us, is to smash the world’s smallest known particles, or the portions of atoms, together at extremely high velocity approaching the speed of light just to see what happens.

The people at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) say they hope to cause two particles called hadrons together to collide, thus causing a duplication of the “Big Bang” that happened at the moment of creation.

They also are looking for the existence of the mythological Higgs Boson, or “god particle” that is believed to be the glue that holds all of the other parts within atoms together, thus allowing matter to have mass, or solidity.

Physicists plan other experiments that they hope will give them an understanding of other theorized concepts that include dark matter, anti-matter and supersymmetry.

Many scientists from around the world worry that experiments with a machine this powerful might release forces capable of literally destroying our world. They point to the possibility that smashing hadrons might produce tiny black holes that will consume everything around them, growing larger and larger until they have consumed the Earth and then our Solar System.

Other concerns are that the collider might produce another hypothetical product of quantum physics called strangelets. According to the theory, strangelets could possess a powerful gravitational field that would have the capability of converting Earth into a lifeless hulk.

Another theoretical particle is called a magnetic monopole, a particle that holds a single magnetic charge instead of two. Such particles would tend to pull matter apart because they would be totally out of magnetic balance.

All of this sounds as if it is locked entirely in the field of theoretical quantum physics. But something happened at the CERN site recently that makes us wonder if the world military isn’t watching the experiments with great interest as well.

Authorities arrested a researcher on the site that had ties to Al Qaeda. The man had been working on an experiment in particle physics as a contractor since 2003. The newspaper Le Figaro reported the incident, saying that the man had been in contact with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and had suggested several French targets for militant attacks.

Of course CERN issued a statement in which it assured everybody that its research lacks any potential for military applications and that the arrested suspect “had no contact with anything that could have been used for terrorism.”

So what was the link? Was it merely a scientist with political ties to this extremist terrorist organization? It seems more plausible that this person was interested in something going on within the CERN research. And what sounds more military than a multi-billion dollar machine that might have the potential of destroying the world?

So what is the history of CERN and where did all of those $12 billion come from to build the Large Hadron Collider?

The convention that established CERN was signed by 11 participating countries, including the United States, in 1954. It original purpose was a global cooperative study of atomic energy but as more was learned about the atom, this evolved into higher-energy physics that was concerned with the study of interactions between particles found within the atom.

Today more than 8,000 physicists from around the world are participating in the project at Geneva. CERN is now run by 20 European member nations with support from other countries including Japan, India, Russia and the United States.

Since then a lot of research has occurred, much of it affecting our everyday lives. Among the most prominent projects was the development of the World Wide Web, initiated by Tim-Berners-Lee in 1989 and Robert Caillian in 1990. Their work was aimed at finding a way to share information among researchers. The first website went on line in 1991. CERN opened the web to the world in 1993.

So is CERN a secret black budget military research program in disguise? Based upon its international links, this is highly unlikely. But as the physicists zero in on such highly elusive and potentially dangerous targets as the Higgs Boson, anti-matter and strangelets, we can be sure military eyes are watching closely.

Looking back in history, we are sure the German physicists Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann never foresaw their impact on world history when they split a uranium atom almost in half with a bombardment of neutrons, producing barium and krypton. They were shocked by the spectacular charge of some 200 million electron voltz in released energy that occurred.