A nice, concerned and possibly crazy German woman is out of luck after a higher administrative court in Muenster rejected her claim that the particle accelerator at CERN is quietly creating a black hole that will destroy all of mankind. “The plaintiff … was worried that the experiments could produce so-called ‘black holes’ which could eventually lead to the destruction of all life on Earth,” the court said in its ruling. “Objectively, there is no evidence to doubt the correctness of these safety reports nor was any conclusive evidence presented.”
This is not this German lady’s first attempt at shutting down CERN over the threat of a manmade black hole. Her case started at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. That court also failed to see the sense in her Armageddon scenario. CERN’s scientists do run some pretty serious scientific experiments at the giant lab near Geneva, Switzerland, but creating black holes with their Large Hadron Collider is not one of them.
Believe it or not, this kind of thing happens all the time. It seems to be a fairly well developed conspiracy theory that CERN scientists will inadvertently create mini black holes while they’re smashing atoms together at high speed. Back in 2008, CERN was dealing with a couple of cases from people worried about the end of the world. One of them, Professor Otto Rössler, a German chemist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, took his case to the European Court of Human Rights and argued that CERN was violating the right to life under the European Convention of Human Rights.
“CERN itself has admitted that mini black holes could be created when the particles collide, but they don’t consider this a risk,” he said. “My own calculations have shown that it is quite plausible that these little black holes survive and will grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside. I have been calling for CERN to hold a safety conference to prove my conclusions wrong but they have not been willing.” For what it’s worth, CERN does have an FAQ on their site about black holes.
Just like the German judges did this week, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Rössler’s request for a hearing about his black hole theory. A Federal District court did the same thing with a case filed by an American and a Spaniard who also thought the world was going to end, starting in Geneva.
So now that we’ve got three cases up and three cases down, all backed with a mountain of research that says fears are categorically unfounded, can we all chill out about the black hole threat at CERN? Those guys have better things to do than brush off conspiracy theorists — like win an upcoming Nobel Prize.