Of all the physics conspiracy theories out there, my current favorite concerns the Large Hadron Colldier (LHC), a proton-proton collider near Geneva, Switzerland that will hopefully discover some exciting new physics. Conspiracy nuts have suggested that it might also inadvertently destroy the Earth (or maybe even the entire Universe).
I’ll spare you the details, which can be easily dug up with a little Googling, but basically the cranks think that the collider will also cook up either an exotic particle or a tiny black hole that will suck up everything around it. It’s pretty much bunk, as others smarter than I have said (here for example).
But that hasn’t stopped Walter L. Wagner, a botanist and self-proclaimed nuclear physicist, from filing suit in US District Court in Hawaii to stop the LHC before it destroys all we hold dear. Wagner wants a “full-scale safety analysis” to be conducted of the collider before its start up, hopefully later this year. A few years back, Wagner raised the same concern about the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. But all it ended up doing was producing these pretty pictures (and some valuable science too).
Incidentally, Wagner’s in a little legal trouble of his own. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, he and his wife were just indicted for allegedly taking illicit control of some property owned by the World Botanical Gardens, which he helped found.
I’m guessing not even the LHC can make his problems disappear.