What would happen if you were to stick your hand in front of a proton beam at the LHC?

The Large Hadron Collider

CERN’S ‘Large Hadron Collide’r resides between the borders of Switzerland and France, some 100 meters (or 300 feet) underground. This incredible machine, which has been dubbed “the largest and most powerful scientific experiment of all time,” spans more than 27 kilometers (17 miles) in tota lengthl, with an average width of about 3.8 meters (or 12.4 feet). Why is it so large, you may ask? It is because the physicists working at CERN are slamming fundamental building blocks of matter together, mimicking the conditions that are believed to have existed only a trillionth of a second after the ignition of the big bang, throwing our universe (and ultimately you and I) into existence.

In order to accomplish this goal, quite a bit of energy needs to be generated ( 7 TRILLION electron volts apiece), with the particles reaching near light-speed (about 299, 792 kilometers p/s or 186, 282 miles p/s)

As you can imagine, it might not be the best idea to stand in the way of one of these beams, as this energy far exceeds any other method of generating energy that we use on a daily basis. But, what would happen to you if you did get in the way?

First, I’d like to ask you what YOU think would happen: Your hand vs. The Large Hadron Collider…which one would emerge victorious?

Before you answer, check this video out:

 Now, if you answered, “the LHC would win,” you are right …probably no terrible surprise there.

According to one physicist, if you stood in front of one of the beams, once the LHC was turned on, a very sharp, thin line of ultra-irradiated dead tissue would likely be DRILLED through your body, perhaps sparking a slow, painful death due to radiation poisoning (the studies on the fallout stemmng from nuclear weapons ignited during World War II, the Chernobyl, and “Demon Core” disasters have already clarified the dangers of extreme exposure to too much radiation in humans and animals. When at full power, the machine ise quipped with enough energy to “flash-boil” a large portion of human flesh.

In fact, a similar incident was recorded during the space race era, when a nuclear scientist from Russia, Anatoli Bugorski, accidentally stuck his head in the path of a proton beam from another particle accelerator. He was checking on a piece of equipment that was malfunctioning…equipment that only had a mere one percent of the LHC’s total energy capability.

The Red Lines Are the Trajectory of the Beam


In this case, he survived, but as mentioned above, a thin strip of his scalp, brain, and skull were ripped straight through with minimum damage (all things considered). Notably, it has been said that he didn’t feel any pain, and it even took a few moments for him to realize what had happened. Surprising, as he didn’t realize it, even AFTER he saw a huge flash of light that was brighter than the sun. Afterwards, the left portion of his face swelled up beyond recognition, before ultimately peeling off in layers, revealing the path the proton beams took through his head. Unluckily (or perhaps extremely luckily), all of the nerves on the left side of his face became paralyzed, but the most neurological damage done to him was epilepsy. Furthermore, the paralyzed side of his face is alleged to not age. This occurred in 1978 and Bugorski is still alive today, living near Moscow.

Sufficed to say… nothing good would come out of sticking your hand (or head) in the path of a proton beam. If you do it anyway, pics or it didn’t happen 😉

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