Somebody I speak to at length on a regular if not particularly frequent basis and whose thoughts I greatly respect, not least because they are more abstract than any other thoughts I hear routinely expressed, plays through the possibility apparently inherent in the apparatus – if that’s what it is, I’m pretty certain she wouldn’t have used that term – of a Large Hadron Collider, such as the one operated by CERN, accidentally causing a mini black hole and thus precipitating and essentially causing the End of The World.

Instinctively, I consider the likelihood of this happening minute, but she holds my gaze a little longer than I expect and I read from this that to her mind – and this is one of the most intelligent minds, certainly in theoretical matters, I have ever come across – the probability is not so remote as to be dismissed altogether.

In a philosophical sense you could argue, and I possibly would, that no probability is so remote as to ever be altogether dismissed, but I’m a little startled that of all the people in the world she should contemplate this particular portent so earnestly.

I forget – as I do most things – our conversation momentarily, but then it keeps nudging its way back into my thoughts where, far from frightening or even greatly perturbing me, it fills me with a curiously warm feeling of comfort: If the world should end, I seem to feel (rather than think, because thinking this would to my mind in turn seem counterintuitive and quite irrational), then, no matter how likely or unlikely it may be, the idea of the world ending in Geneva of all places strikes me as strangely appropriate…

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