A giant particle accelerator that mimicks the effects of the "Big Bang" could destroy all life on Earth by sucking it into a black hole, a lawsuit claims.
Walter Wagner, who runs a botanical garden on Hawaii's Big Island, and Luis Sancho, a Spaniard, have asked for an injunction to prevent the European Centre for Nuclear Research, or Cern, starting up the Large Hadron Collider.
The accelerator, which will be the world's most powerful particle smasher, is due to begin hurling protons at each other at its base outside Geneva this summer.
Physicists hope that the device, which has taken 14 years and £4 billion to build, will
provide clues to the universe's origins by mimicking its condition a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
Although Cern scientists have already ruled out the possibility in a safety review, Mr Wagner and Mr Sancho say there is at least a small chance of total annihilation of the planet and maybe the universe.They claim Cern has under-played the chances that the collider could produce a tiny black hole or a particle called a "killer strangelet" that would turn the Earth into a shrunken lump of "strange matter"