By Alex Dominguez
from the could happen dept.
WAXAHACHIE, Texas (JNS) _ A coalition of insurers has formed a partnership to provide so-called ``quantum blink'' coverage.
The coverage will protect business and home owners against the possibility the universe could blink out of existence if all of its quantum particles aligned.
While unlikely, the possibility exists, and scientists need to learn more, researchers at the Superconducting Supercollider Institute reported last week.
``Such a quantum blink would be catastrophic,'' lead researcher Lorentz Heisenberg said. ``We owe it to ourselves to learn more about this.''
SSI is seeking $14 billion to construct a massive supercollider to study that possibility as well as other areas of particle physics.
The smallest particles of matter are known to blink in and out of existence, transferring back-and-forth from energy to matter. If all the particles in the universe made the switch at the same time, life as we know it would end in an instantaneous fireball similar to the Big Bang that is believed to have created the universe.
Researchers have been toying for years with the spooky rules of quantum mechanics, prompting particles to jump from various states as they are observed by the outside world.
The mechanics of the transfer from matter to energy are unknown, but it holds the promise of unlimited energy and unbridled disaster if such a reaction ever ran astray, Heisenberg said.
A smaller blink may have responsible for 1908 Tunguska blast in Siberia that leveled trees for miles. Current quantum physics research also raises the possibility of an accidental blink, said Damian Rhee, a spokesman for Continental Insurance.
``You can never be too sure,'' Rhee said. ``Our policy will give you peace of mind.''Posted by Alex at March 14, 2002 09:40 AM