MIT physicist gets death threat over collider experiment

Particle collision experiments fuel fears that black hole will swallow the universe

An MIT physics professor and Nobel laureate has received death threats because of his involvement with the Large Hadron Collider, which performed the world's biggest physics experiment Wednesday.

Frank Wilczek, whose research interests include particle physics and cosmology, received the threats as the collider made its first test run, which is widely considered a major milestone in particle physics.

Jen Hirsch, a spokeswoman for MIT, said campus and Cambridge police have been notified of the threats.

While scientists are using the collider to find an answer to how the universe was created, there have been increasing rumors circulating around the Internet that the experiments will destroy the Earth and possibly the entire galaxy. People have been fearful that when the particles collide at high energy, they will create a black hole that will suck everything and everyone into it.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), released a report late last week contending that such safety fears are "unfounded." CERN Director General Robert Aymar was quoted as saying that any suggestion that there's a risk is "pure fiction."

"The doomsayers just don't understand," said Bolek Wyslouch, a professor of physics at MIT who has been working on the collider project for the last seven years. "We live in a world where media, television and movies make claims and I'm sure people are confused between reality and fiction, and may go to extremes. You don't usually hear so much in the media about the possibility of destroying the Earth. It's absurd."

Hirsch noted that Wilczek sat on the science advisory committee at the LHC for six years, but is no longer associated with the project. However, according to a report on MSNBC.com, Wilczek took the government's side in a recent US-based lawsuit filed by a retired nuclear safety officer and a Spanish science writer who called for more safety reviews to be done before any experiments are conducted at the collider.

A similar suit was filed in Europe. Neither court would delay the experiments.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags large hadron collider

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Sharon Gaudin

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?