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A layman a bit scared of the LHC (as always)

  1. Nov 3, 2009 #1
    Hello there, Ive been here before to ask for help with my fears about the LHC a while ago. Suffice to say I eventually overcame them thanks to the help from some members of this forum and that of Michaelangelo Mangano of CERN. However recently Ive decided to revisit the old LHC Defense forums which I used to frequent (along with the likes of the notorious Walter Wagner and JTankers), and I came across some information from some links that gave me a panic attack:


    Specifically what worries me is the mention by Eric2 that strangelets may show up desipte the LSAG saying that with increasing heat their formation is unlikely. So far nobody has rebuked this, and this is getting me a wee bit (unreasonably perhaps) uncomfortable. Can anyone disspell this please? It would make me feel better

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2009 #2
    I don't know what a stranglet is and I am not a particle physicist, I am a senior undergraduate. I am quite comfortable with the LHC though. Cosmic rays with energy on the order of TeV are known to collide with the Earth's atmosphere on a regular basis, with no ill effects. The only difference is that in the LHC, the collision will occur inside the experimental apparatus so the properties of the collision can be observed.
  4. Nov 3, 2009 #3
    Cosmic rays sometimes have energies exceeding the center-of-mass energies (14 TeV) expected in the LHC, and have been hitting the Earth for over a 1000 million years. So if nothing has happened already, it won't in LHC.
    Bob S
  5. Nov 3, 2009 #4
    That is quite true, and I have heard of this point countless times before, yet I also heard that particles created by cosmic rays tend to move extremely fast through the earth before they can interact. Also wouldnt there be many such collisions with strange quarks in the same area at the same time at the LHC? Regardless I have a very narrow knowledge on physics so hopefully you can point out a few flaws in what I have said here. While I wouldve liked a direct answer to what I was initially concerned with, I really appreciate you guys for helping me out here.
  6. Nov 3, 2009 #5
    Neutrinos will travel through the Earth will very little probabilties of interacting. Cosmic ray photons, electrons, positrons, protons, and anti-protons will interact and create large electromagnetic or hadronic (including mesons) showers in a few hundred meters of atmosphere. This has been going on for billions of years.
    Bob S
  7. Nov 3, 2009 #6
    Why do you have the desire to be scared? Are you also a hypochondriac?
  8. Nov 4, 2009 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    George, nobody is going to be able to dispel your fears. Consider the following discussion.

    "Someone told me that I have to be afraid of the the glorbing fribbatz!"
    "That's nonsense."
    "Thanks - I feel better. But I was just told that I have to be afraid of the shibbering niberzing!"
    "That's nonsense too."
    "Great! But I just heard about the jabibbering klibbersnitz!"

    It will never end. The fact of the matter is that scaremongers and crackpots can generate nonsense far faster than it can be argued against - because these scaremongers and crackpots aren't constrained by actual facts.

    You have only two choices I see:
    1. You can learn enough physics to make up your own mind.
    2. You can ask if the claim is reasonable - that something in excess of 8000 physicists are working hard to destroy the world, and none of them are willing to say "stop". Does this make sense to you?
  9. Nov 4, 2009 #8
    Well it really isnt as simple like that, I just suffer the tendecy of getting extremely curious and Im unable to control my curiousity, and and whatever I get worked up about tends to stay in my imagination for a while. This usually only extends to things such as my cat being gone for more than a few days, but if I seriously want to stop worrying about what Eric2 said in the links I realise that I merely have to ignore it and accept that the physicists that worked on the LSAG and reviewed are way more likely to have the right answer than some stranger on the internet.

    Also thanks to Vanadium for explaining how scaremongering works. Another way the "crack pots" work is by remaining anonymous and to show "facts", which in turn can make some unifnformed people like me quite uncomfortable as they have no way of confirming anything at all based on the limited information that they recieve. Such is the case with Eric2 that made me worried, along with his final post where it remains unanswered as I had previously felt comfortable with LSAG's explanation that the chance of strangelet creation decreases with energy.
  10. Nov 5, 2009 #9
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