So I was wondering, I hear everywhere that what the LHC (or RHIC) is only doing what's happening all the time already with cosmic rays. Is that really so? Are the really doing NOTHING new here? Are they really just doing stuff that's already happening all the time? From what I understand, they smash different sorts of atoms together (don't quote me on it, it's what I vaguely picked up). For example I think in the RHIC they're using gold atoms. Now I'm wondering, I'm sure there are some atoms on earth that don't occur anywhere else. Atoms that first had to be produced by humans, like Plutonium for example. Atoms that don't come in contact with cosmic rays, where you couldn't simply say "it's happening all the time in our atmosphere and on the moon. Nothing dangerous about it", because it's not. I'm sure there's something here I understand wrong so if someone here could please enlighten me as to why it is that the LHC or RHIC apparently aren't doing anything new I'd be really happy. If you for instance decided to smash two Plutonium atoms together, I'm sure that's something that doesn't happen anywhere else. But I don't know much about all this, and I just wanna know why it's not dangerous and how apparently these accelerators aren't doing anything new.