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Woe woe and thrice woe! The LHC is working.



So ... CERN's Large Hydron Collider has been switched on, and amazingly, the world is still here, and still in one piece.

Having recovered from cowering in the corner and attempting to kiss my bottom goodbye (why anyone would want to kiss their own bottom is beyond me) I find that a lot of people were really, Really worried about it.

There were jokes and rumours about black holes as the Large Hadron Collider was switched on. Children picked up on these fears - so how to reassure young ones about the Big Bang machine?

"What is this experiment about, Daddy, and is it going to blow up the Earth?"

That was the question many parents collided with as scientists prepared to flick the switch on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

In the run-up to the switch-on on Wednesday, doomsayers predicted the ?5bn machine could create a world-ending black hole. One teenager was so terrified, she committed suicide in India.

Educational psychologist Alex Griffiths says hearing that the world might end can be "devastating" for a child of a certain age.

While children in the later stages of primary school may not understand the physics, they certainly have a good understanding of what this might mean for them and their families.

Although the sense of self is developing from an early age, an awareness of reality does not emerge until at least the age of five.

"Generally, adults can rationalise situations and just get on with life. Children have more time to play with the idea and it is new to them.

"Their brains are not as well developed and they have little experience of scaremongering to draw from. It also appeals to their imagination."

I guess if my Dad had told me the world might be ending I'd have been worried, too. Though I'd probably have tried to use it as an excuse to not do homework.

Admittedly they haven't got to the real experiments yet, and as they won't be starting until next year, I'll have time to practise my bottom kissing technique ... hmm.

Anyway, here is a link to the 'turn on'. Do watch the movie, it's ... well, riveting. :wink:

This is well worth watching. It's Steven Hawking. Will he or won't he win his $100 bet?

Reassuring children about the world's end


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