Further to the article I posted a few weeks ago about a lawsuit trying to prevent CERN from starting up their Large Hadron Collider due to the very small risk that it might cause global destruction via a black hole or a stranglet, yesterday’s New York Times had another article about the risks posed by such high-end, high-energy physics experiments.
The article quite rightly poses the question of how one determines acceptable risks “in these surreal realms when the odds of disaster might be tiny but the stakes are cosmically high.”
Check it out here.
(PS: The article also links to some really interesting academic papers about risk assessment for these kinds of experiments. Unfortunately, you can’t get access unless you either buy the articles or have access through a university subscription to something like ProQuest. If you can get hold of them–I can because I have ProQuest access through my day job–I highly recommend them.)