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Mar 27, 2010

Critical Request to CERN Council and Member States on LHC Risks

Posted by in categories: complex systems, cosmology, engineering, ethics, existential risks, particle physics, policy

Experts regard safety report on Big Bang Machine as insufficient and one-dimensional

International critics of the high energy experiments planned to start soon at the particle accelerator LHC at CERN in Geneva have submitted a request to the Ministers of Science of the CERN member states and to the delegates to the CERN Council, the supreme controlling body of CERN.

The paper states that several risk scenarios (that have to be described as global or existential risks) cannot currently be excluded. Under present conditions, the critics have to speak out against an operation of the LHC.

The submission includes assessments from expertises in the fields markedly missing from the physicist-only LSAG safety report — those of risk assessment, law, ethics and statistics. Further weight is added because these experts are all university-level experts – from Griffith University, the University of North Dakota and Oxford University respectively. In particular, it is criticised that CERN’s official safety report lacks independence – all its authors have a prior interest in the LHC running and that the report uses physicist-only authors, when modern risk-assessment guidelines recommend risk experts and ethicists as well.

As a precondition of safety, the request calls for a neutral and multi-disciplinary risk assessment and additional astrophysical experiments – Earth based and in the atmosphere – for a better empirical verification of the alleged comparability of particle collisions under the extreme artificial conditions of the LHC experiment and relatively rare natural high energy particle collisions: “Far from copying nature, the LHC focuses on rare and extreme events in a physical set up which has never occurred before in the history of the planet. Nature does not set up LHC experiments.”

Even under greatly improved circumstances concerning safety as proposed above, big jumps in energy increase, as presently planned by a factor of three compared to present records, without carefully analyzing previous results before each increase of energy, should principally be avoided.

The concise “Request to CERN Council and Member States on LHC Risks” (Pdf with hyperlinks to the described studies) by several critical groups, supported by well known critics of the planned experiments:

http://lhc-concern.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/request-t…5;2010.pdf

The answer received by now does not consider these arguments and studies but only repeats again that from the side of the operators everything appears sufficient, agreed by a Nobel Price winner in physics. LHC restart and record collisions by factor 3 are presently scheduled for March 30, 2010.

Official detailed and well understandable paper and communication with many scientific sources by ‘ConCERNed International’ and ‘LHC Kritik’:

http://lhc-concern.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/critical-…ed-int.pdf

More info:
http://lhc-concern.info/