A hand full of hadrons … ouch!

Ouch is saying it mildly. It might be safer to wave at an H. G. Wells tripod with full Martian heat ray than stick one’s hand into the LHC:

(TPM) — Back in September 2010, Sixty Symbols previously interviewed several scientists about what they thought would happen to a person’s hand placed in the path of a full power beam from the LHC, to hilarious and ambiguous results. But now, Haran and company posed the question to staffers working at the Large Hadron Collider itself. Sufficed to say, the answers this time are more decisive.“Your whole body would be irradiated, you’d die pretty quickly,” said David Barney, a scientist working on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, one of six experiments running at the beam.

Hopefully, it would be quick indeed. But if the damage was merely local, limited to a small hole drilled through your hand, it might not kill fast enough. There might be plenty of time to experience oh such lovely things, like the entire gut lining sloughing out of both cavities in rancid bits, while mutant white blood cells went whistling through a leaking, collapsing circulatory system on an microscopic suicidal jihad against anything and everything they touched.

I’m amazed no one has thought of a way to weaponize this … do’h!


  1. thunk says

    From Wired article about Bugorski:

    Bugorski stuck his head in the space through which the beam passes on its way from one part of the accelerator tube to the next and saw a flash brighter than a thousand suns. He felt no pain.

  2. mrevan says

    I really like how, at the end of the first paragraph, in the Wikipedia entry, the “citation needed” is at the end of the “some are science fiction” clause. I know it applies to the whole statement but I still couldn’t help but giggle.

  3. jnorris says

    Wouldn’t the blackhole created by the LHC kill you before the radiation ate you alive? :>)

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