Let's face it, we really trust science. In fact, studies suggest that the vast majority of people will murder another human being, if a guy in a lab coat tells them it's OK.
But surely in their insatiable curiosity and desire to put knowledge above all things, science would never, say, inadvertently set off a chain of events that lead to some sort of disaster that ended the world. Right?
Well, here's five experiments that may prove us wrong.
5Recreating the Big Bang
Scientists are kind of pissed that they weren't around when the Big Bang happened. Here we had an event that holds all of the secrets to reality, and we missed it because we were lazy enough not to evolve for another 13 billion years.
The solution, science says, is to make it happen again. They assure us that they can stage a new Big Bang if they smash some protons together really, really fucking hard. In fact, they can make a million of them per second, which is 999,999 more than God managed.
God, 1. Science, 999,999.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Well, first imagine an apocalyptic nuclear holocaust. Multiply that by about one hundred and twenty thousand billion, and then multiply that by around the neighborhood of infinity. That equals around one eighth of the magnitude of the Big Bang. Nevertheless, scientists are pretty sure they can contain their Big Bang in an erlenmeyer flask, just so long as they remember to cork it.
So, Basically It's Like...
Imagine you have a huge tanker truck parked outside a children's hospital. You don't know what's inside it, but you're fairly confident that it's either a cure for cancer, or 20,000 gallons of explosive nitroglycerin. To find out which, you have to shoot at it with an AK-47.
How Long Have We Got?
Meet the Large Hadron Collider.
This is not only the largest particle accelerator ever built, it's the largest anything ever built. Originally set to come online in 2005, then delayed until September 2008, the LHC will fire very small objects around its 17-mile circumference at close to the speed of light, before smashing the shit out of them and watching what comes out.
The problem, of course, is that even the eggheads don't really know what's going to happen, which is sort of why they're doing it in the first place. That's also why a lawsuit was filed to put a stop to it. Scientists on the LHC project insist there is no danger, and predict that the resulting observations could revolutionize science and send us into a golden age of knowledge, in the event that we actually survive.
Risk Level: 3
Experts assure us that based on everything we know about science, the chances of doom are fairly slim. Experts also say LHC will change everything we know about science. So there is a certain chance that one of the brand new things they learn about the LHC is that the LHC has the ability turn the entire planet into a fine cloud of particles.