Feb 10 2012: Communication directed to CERN for a neutral and multidisciplinary risk assessment to be done before any LHC upgrade
Letter to CERN
Dear management and scientists at CERN,
Astronomer and Leonardo-publisher Roger Malina recently emphasized that the main problem in research is that “curiosity is not neutral”. And he concluded: “There are certain problems where we cannot cloister the scientific activity in the scientific world, and I think we really need to break the model. I wish CERN, when they had been discussing the risks, had done that in an open societal context, and not just within the CERN context.”
Video of Roger Malina’s presentation at Ars Electronica, following prominent philosopher and leading constructivist Humberto Maturana’s remarkable lecture on science and “certainy”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOZS2qJrVkU
In the eyes of many critics a number of questions related to LHC safety are not ruled out and some of them have concrete and severe concerns. Also the comparability of the cosmic ray argument is challenged.
Australian risk researcher and ethicist Mark Leggett concludes in a paper that CERN meets less than a fifth of the criteria of a modern risk assessment:
Without getting into details of the LHC safety discussion – this article in the well-recognized Physics arXiv Blog (MIT’s Technology Review) states: “Black Holes, Safety, and the LHC Upgrade - If the LHC is to be upgraded, safety should be a central part of the plans.”
Similar to pragmatic critics, the author claims in his closing remarks: “What’s needed, of course, is for the safety of the LHC to be investigated by an independent team of scientists with a strong background in risk analysis but with no professional or financial links to CERN.”
The renowned Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) in Karlsruhe and other risk researchers have already signalized interest in cooperation. We think, in such a process, naturally also CERN and critics should be constructively involved.
Please act in favour of such a neutral and multi-disciplinary assessment, maybe already following the present Chamonix meeting. Even if you feel sure that there are no reasons for any concerns, this must be in your interest, while also being of scientific and public concern.
In the name of many others:
LHC-Kritik / LHC-Critique