Here are the five science experiments that could destroy us all ... or not.
1. Recreation of the 'Big Bang'
The ‘Big Bang‘ does not cease to interest scientists, who, disappointed by not having witnessed the event that marked the beginning of everything that exists, burn with the desire that the Big Bang happen again. And they are already making it happen, by reproducing a million such explosions per second in vitro.
We refer to the Large Hadron Collider, our possible killer, launched in September 2008. It is in this machine where the brightest minds in the physics world accelerate elementary particles by a 26 kilometer ring to see what happens.
The main problem is that no scientist knows exactly what the consequences of these experiments may be. Perhaps the most important discovery that the Collider will allow will be precisely that this device is capable of pulverizing the planet.
2. The quantum Zeno effect
For many years, scientists have been searching the cosmos for antigravity, which they do not know if it exists but which they insist on calling "dark energy." But the weirdest thing of all is the quantum Zeno effect, a theory that claims that just by looking at particles we change them (or rather, we change the level at which they break down). How? Well, that nobody knows.
A renowned scientist, Professor Lawrence Krauss, proposed a theory according to which the simple observation of dark energy can cause its destruction, which in turn would cause the destruction of our Universe.
Krauss believes that the result will not be long in coming, especially considering that in the late 1990s, when scientists were lucky enough to detect dark energy, a series of supernova explosions were observed.
3. Foreign matter
It is a hypothetical substance made up of 'quarks', the particles that make up our reality.
There are two hypotheses to foreign matter. The first states that it will disappear immediately after being generated. The second suggests that this matter will stabilize and will begin to convert each and every one of the atoms it encounters into the same foreign matter.
Now imagine, at least in theory, what this strange matter will do if it appears on Earth.
Fortunately for us, foreign matter can only arise as a result of high-energy collisions of elementary particles, so there is no danger at all. But wait ... We have the Large Hadron Collider! By building it, the scientists hoped to discover what is generated when atoms collide in a huge underground tunnel, and the strange matter is on the list of possible discoveries.
4. Travel through time
To the many possible ways to end the universe with the help of the Collider we could add time travel. The fact that until now no serious scientist has developed the technology for these trips does not exclude that someone may discover it by chance, as happened with penicillin.
One of the suggestions is that the continuous high-energy collisions of elementary particles in the Collider open a hole in the fabric of the universe, and that future generations learn to use it to travel through time ... with all the consequences and risks that that would entail.
Modern technologies aim to produce ever smaller and more complex devices. In that sense, nanotechnology, which makes it possible to create molecules the size of robots, is just what is needed.
And how does that benefit us? Well, imagine millions of microscopic machines that travel through the blood vessels of sick people to attack a malignant tumor, or to destroy the AIDS virus with small lasers, etc.
But fantasy aside, there is a real problem, which is how to mass-produce these tiny gadgets. The solution is simple: they must be taught to produce themselves from materials taken from their environment.
The problem with nanorobots is that they are capable of becoming veritable exterminators of all cellular organisms, and could end up destroying all organic life in a single night. Eric Drexler, one of the founding fathers of the nanotechnology concept, has put forward several chilling theories about doomsday. For example, a scenario known as the 'gray plague problem' suggests that robots, by self-producing, would consume all the material available on the planet, along with the Earth itself. The result of this process would be that a gray mass of nanorobots would end up floating adrift in space.
Meanwhile, scientists report they are working on a 'breeder' nanorobot, a kind of 'queen bee of nanorobots' capable of producing billions of tiny machines ... and controlling them.
Although perhaps we will be saved from this sad scenario thanks to the Large Hadron Collider ... which will have killed us before.