Particle Panic!

How Popular Media and Popularized Science Feed Public Fears of Particle Accelerator Experiments

  • Kristine┬áLarsen

Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 1-21
  3. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 23-46
  4. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 47-66
  5. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 91-113
  6. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 137-159
  7. Kristine Larsen
    Pages 179-185
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 187-194

About this book


From novels and short stories to television and film, popular media has made a cottage industry of predicting the end of the world will be caused by particle accelerators. Rather than allay such fears, public pronouncements by particle scientists themselves often unwittingly fan the flames of hysteria.

This book surveys media depictions of particle accelerator physics and the perceived dangers these experiments pose. In addition, it describes the role of scientists in propagating such fears and misconceptions, offering as a conclusion ways in which the scientific community could successfully allay such misplaced fears through more effective communication strategies.

The book is aimed at the general reader interested in separating fact from fiction in the field of high-energy physics, at science educators and communicators, and, last but not least, at all scientists concerned about these issues.

About the Author

Kristine M Larsen holds a Ph.D. in Physics and is currently a professor at Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, in the Geological Sciences Department. She has published a number of books, among them The Women Who Popularized Geology in the 19th Century (Springer, 2017), The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman (eds. Anthony Burdge, Jessica Burke, and Kristine Larsen. Kitsune Press, 2012. Recipient of the Gold Medal for Science Fiction/Fantasy in the 2012 Florida Publishing Association Awards), The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who (eds. Anthony Burdge, Jessica Burke, and Kristine Larsen. Kitsune Press, 2010), as well as Stephen Hawking: A Biography (Greenwood Press, 2005) and Cosmology 101 (Greenwood Press, (2007).


Particle accelerator experiments in popular science Safety of the LHC misconceptions in science journalism God particle pseudoscience and science communication blast hole micro black hole particle accelerator destroys earth fear of science Scientist communicator

Authors and affiliations

  • Kristine┬áLarsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Sciences DepartmentCentral Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainUSA

Bibliographic information