You've already heard of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest, baddest, and highest-energy particle accelerator anywhere on the planet. The LHC sits in a circular tunnel 27km in circumference buried around 50m to 175m beneath the earth. It's purpose isn't to destroy the world, like so many doomsayers thought it would when physicists flipped the power switch, but to collide two counter rotating beams of protons or heavy ions to recreate the conditions just after the theorized Big Bang. By doing so, physicists hope to gain a better understanding of all sorts of geeky topics, like quantum mechanics, general relativity, the structure of space and time, and other things that would make your head spin. So naturally, the one question that comes to everyone's mind is...what would happen if you stuck your hand in front of the beam?
Maybe that isn't the first question everyone thinks of, but as it turns out, it's a damn good one. This is exactly what the inquiring minds at Sixty Symbols asked, who then video interviewed the answers from several scientists. The general consensus? Lots of theories, but no concrete answers. Possibilities range from nothing at all to feeling a pin prick as the concentrated beam travels through your hand. Or it could rattle your entire being and kill you in an instant.
Given the vast uncertainty (not of the universe, but of what would happen to your hand), perhaps the real question is who will be the first to try and palm the beam? Check out the amusing video below.