by Andrew Griffin

There’s no space in the world for spirits to inhabit

Ghosts definitely aren’t real because the biggest science experiment in the world would have found them by now, according to Brian Cox.

People have wondered for perhaps as long as life itself whether people’s spirits can live on in the world once their body dies. But the TV professor says that they definitely don’t, since CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would have stumbled across one.

The LHC is the biggest particle accelerator ever built. It is includes a huge ring of superconducting magnets and accelerators that fling particles around, sending them into each other at such speed that they can be used to understand some of the most fundamental properties of the universe. In doing so, scientists can find out how elementary particles interact and behave, and understand how they work to compose the world that we see around us.

The project has seen a number of things, identifying how particles decay and picking up hints that there could be new and unknown particles. But it hasn’t yet found even a sliver of proof that there is anything that could make up a ghost.

If ghosts existed, then they would need to be made purely of energy, since by their very definition they can’t be made of matter. But if they were made only of energy, they would quickly dissipate, because the second law of thermodynamics proposes that energy is always lost to heat.

The only way that they would be able to avoid that would be to have an incoming source of their own spooky energy. But there is nothing to account for that in the standard model of physics or anything we’ve seen in the particle accelerator.

“If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made,” he said in a special edition of his podcast The Infinite Monkey Cage that focused on the paranormal. “We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.”

Guest Neil deGrasse Tyson checked whether Professor Cox was really claiming that the particle accelerator had actually disproved the existence of supernatural spirits.

“If I understand what you just declared, you just asserted that CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, disproved the existence of ghosts,” he asked. “Yes,” replied Professor Cox.