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A hole in the LHC's vacuum bubble safety argument

  1. Apr 18, 2015 #1
    A hole in the LHC's vacuum bubble safety argument

    One of the four specific risks considered in the most recent official safety review for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the possibility that LHC collisions could trigger a transition to a lower-energy vacuum state. The current review by the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) [2] asserts that this risk was ruled out in the earlier report of the LHC Safety Study Group (LSSG) [1]. The conclusion of the LSAG's report states:
    It should be noted, however, that the LSSG's report considers only the three specific risks of strangelets, black holes, and magnetic monopoles. The LSSG's report includes no mention whatsoever of the possibility of vacuum bubble formation and includes no data relevant to the vacuum bubble safety argument briefly outlined in the LSAG's report.

    References

    [1] Blaizot J P et al (LSSG), 2003, Report of the LHC Safety Study Group, CERN-2003-001 <http://cds.cern.ch/record/613175/files/CERN-2003-001.pdf> [Broken]

    [2] Ellis J et al (LSAG), 2008, J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 35 115004 (arXiv:0806.3414) <http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.3414> [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2015 #2

    ChrisVer

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    So, it's a re-confirmation review?
     
  4. Apr 18, 2015 #3

    mfb

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    Where are theories about vacuum bubbles that would need more safety reviews? In particular, which theory would suggest vacuum bubbles from the LHC but not from astrophysical collision processes at much higher energies?

    Note that only published material counts as acceptable reference here.
     
  5. Apr 18, 2015 #4

    ChrisVer

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    I think (s)he was trying to say the same things referred to in Sec.3 of the review (s)he posted.
     
  6. Apr 18, 2015 #5
    Your argumentation isn't correct. You already exclude what has the right to be in the report; and what can be discussed and possibly declared as not a safety issue by the report.

    Anyway one example of an issue with the Vacuum I can think of is what Stephen Hawking mentioned:

    "The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100 billion GeVs. This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn't see it coming." - http://www.popularmechanics.com/sci...-said-about-destroying-the-universe-17192502/


    --

    But just like the answer you (mfb) already mention in your comment ... all the pro-safety arguments lead to the existence of Ultra-high-cosmic rays (UHCR), which overrule by far what is going on at the LHC, and they don't cause any threatening damage, so we are safe. Such as explained with this analogy in the article:

    "Imagine that somebody hands you a piece of paper and says, 'This piece of paper has the potential to spontaneously combust,' and so you might be worried," Mack says. "But then they tell you 20 years ago it was in a furnace." If it didn't combust in the furnace, it's not likely to combust sitting in your hand.

    --

    The only thing that is missing in the safety report, is the fact that the luminosity and density is much higher in the lhc than for cosmic ray collisions in the open air by a factor of 109, although this number depends on your frame of reference, as discussed in an other topic here on the forum.

    It would be an asset to the Safety report if they would officially outline why density is not an issue and at what point it would be an issue, just like the article on Vacuum Bubbles does.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2015 #6

    mfb

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    The purpose of the report is to analyze safety concerns. The analysis has to restrict itself to serious concerns - it cannot cover every possible "the LHC could create dangerous magical fairies" concern, and we cannot discuss them either. Therefore we restrict discussions here to published material.
    And as discussed in detail in this topic, this is not true.
    This is so obvious to physicists that they did not bother discussing it.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2015 #7
    I have never encountered a theory where "the LHCcould create dangerous magical fairies" or such.

    Besides that the OP was about vacuum bubbles, so is it your intention to mock Stephen Hawkins by resourcing to that kind of argument?

    It has become a stereotypic intimidation technique where by using this type of ridicule people get to be pushed into a corner with arguments that you make up yourself.

    Once again your style of argumentation is not correct.
     
  9. Apr 18, 2015 #8

    mfb

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    I used it as placeholder for everything with a similar likelihood. Producing earthquakes, producing a powerful weapon in some way, producing radiation to somehow influence some persons in some way (didn't get the details) - yes all those weird ideas and many more exist.
    Where did Stephen Hawking talk about the relation between vacuum bubbles and the LHC? 100 billion GeV is 10 million times above the LHC energy.
     
  10. Apr 18, 2015 #9
    OTOH, high energy cosmic rays impinge onto gazillion of stars, planets and lesser specks of dust all over the Universe for some 13+ billions of years already. Cumulatively all these ongoing events have vastly higher luminosity than LHC at any given instant.
     
  11. Apr 18, 2015 #10
    You are right.
     
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