LHC and the man on the street

Contributed by
Apr 11, 2008

I got an email from the folks at moblog.tv asking my opinion on a man-on-the-street video they did asking people if they were worried that the Large Hadron Collider would destroy the planet. In fact, it's an interesting video. It's done for humor, of course, but the host gives a decent explanation of the very low odds (like, try winning the lottery a hundred times in a row) of this happening, and the replies are (mostly) fun.

The scientist guy is great; he has good answers. The gentleman who says the public doesn't understand this enough to make a decision on it was right on. The Christian woman who said she doesn't care much because she thinks people go to heaven when they die scared me quite a bit. The woman who didn't know what a black hole was didn't let that stop her from commenting on how scientists "have ideologies which may affect how they look at things."


Anyway, this was a non-random sample of people, but it's still interesting. Maybe we can do the same thing when I'm in England and then at CERN. I suspect locals in Geneva know more about the LHC than the average American... especially when the average media outlet in America only talks about the LHC when crackpots claim it'll destroy the Earth. As usual, I am reminded that my work will never be done.

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