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Is the CERN experiment LHC’s purpose so »abhorrent to nature« that it is being sabotaged by its own future? University of Copenhagen physicist blames ‘backward causation’ for the collider’s teething troubles
Helium leakages, power outages and year-long magnet repairs must make Large Hadron Collider (LHC) the world’s most costly and ill-fated experiment.
Now, University of Copenhagen physicist Holger Bech Nielsen claims that the machine’s run of bad luck may be down to a ‘back-to-the-future’ effect, whereby the machine is doomed to failure by its own future.
This is according to the British news website Timesonline.co.uk.
Since its conception the LHC has been the subject of numerous sci-fi doomsday theories. Most notable is the idea that the LHC could create a black hole which could swallow the Earth, or, more dramatically, destroy the entire Universe.
Most researchers and physics buffs with an ounce of theoretical knowledge have scoffed into their lab coats at such speculations.
However, two respected physicists, one of them the University of Copenhagen’s Holger Bech Nielsen, have added fuel to the sci-fi nerds’ inferno, by claiming that ‘backward causation’ could be at the root of the LHC’s numerous ‘accidental’ system failures.
Furthermore, they have backed up their hypothesis with apparently sound mathematical theory.
Backward causation is, in Holger Bech Nielsens own words, »influence going from future to past«.
According to his theory, LHC and the Higgs boson particle it is meant to create might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time-traveller who goes back in time to kill his own grandfather.
»Our theory suggests that any machine trying to make the Higgs shall have bad luck,« Holger Bech Nielsen explains.
»It is based on mathematics, but you could explain it by saying that God rather hates Higgs particles and attempts to avoid them.«
Along with Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, Holger Bech Nielsen aired this hypothesis in the paper ‘Search for Future Influence from LHC’.
They argue that this malign influence from the future could explain why the United States Superconducting Supercollider, also designed to find the Higgs, was shut down in 1993 at a cost of billions of dollars.
Holger Bech Nielsen has called this event so unlikely that it can be classed as an »anti-miracle«.
Some of Cern’s own researchers have taken Nielsen’s theory at least a little seriously.
»His ideas are theoretically valid. What he is doing is playing around at the edge of our knowledge, which is a good thing,« says Brian Cox, professor of particle physics at Manchester University
»He is pointing out that we don’t yet have a quantum theory of gravity, so we haven’t yet proved rigorously that sending information into the past isn’t possible,« he adds.
However, no matter how good the mathematics are, time-travel is a little bit difficult to take seriously:
»If time travellers do break into the LHC control room and pull the plug out of the wall, then I’ll refer you to my article supporting Nielsen’s theory that I wrote in 2025,« quips Brian Cox.