The science world is all abuzz about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe. Located under the Switzerland-France border, it is the largest and, more importantly, the highest-energy particle accelerator in the world, with an energy of 7 tera-electron volts (TeV).
Take my word for it that that is a very high energy. Here is an easier number to understand: At full energy, the LHC will use $100,000 worth of electricity per day.
Americans could have outdone the LHC, with the planned Superconducting Super Collider, once planned to be built south of Dallas, Texas. It was to have an energy of 20 TeV. But Congress cancelled the SSC's funding in 1993.
Today the LHC lit up with its first beam. No particle collisions have been conducted, although once they start, particle physicists hope they will be able to fill in the gaps in the Standard Model of particle physics. The media hyperbolically calls this "the search for the God particle," i.e. a particle called the Higgs boson.
Some bosons, er, bozos have cried loudly that the LHC will create a microscopic black hole that will not immediately disappear, but that will consume the entire earth. To keep apprised of this developing crisis, I recommend this blog, Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed The Earth Yet?