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Black hole seeding vacuum decay

  1. May 8, 2015 #1
    Hello all, please forgive me if I seem somewhat unaccustomed to this site, I have just registered.

    I suffer from an illness called catastrophic thinking syndrome, simply put this means that I turn everything I read in to a disaster until I become ill due to anxiety / depression . I recently read a paper by burda et al. on whether black holes (both primordial and lhc produced) could seed vacuum decay. I was wondering if anybody had read this and whether they though there was a possibility of doing this at the LHC.

    My specialism is in the legal field so physics isn't my strong point.

    The link to the paper is here:


    Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated. I will be able to get better and move once I have a clear understanding

    I hope my naivity on this subject does not come across as ignorant.

    Thank you so much has for taking time to read.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2015 #2


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    There is absolutely no possibility that the LHC could do that. Even if all our theory descriptions would be wrong: there are much more natural high-energetic collisions in the universe all the time (millions of them happened in the atmosphere while you were reading this text), and the universe still exists.
  4. May 9, 2015 #3
    Hi thanks for the reply. The paper seems to have some support for the affect if primordial black holes are to exist but not so much (currently) for any created in a particle collider as they would be higher dimensional, it's this a consideration that the LHC would consider?

    Can I ask what you thought of the paper? I was intrigued but also concerned by it.
  5. May 9, 2015 #4


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    Please note an important thing here. This is NOT a "paper". It is a manuscript that has not been published anywhere else yet. It means that it hasn't been peer-reviewed.

    If I were you, I'd wait and see if this will get published first before putting my time and effort into it. After all, don't you want it to at least go through some sort of a quality check first, especially when admittedly, physics isn't your "strong point"?

  6. May 9, 2015 #5
    I did not realise it was yet to be considered a published paper, so please accept my apologies.

    I was just hoping to get some people's opinion on it who understand physics.

    By having this I can then bring my anxiety down and start to relax / get better. Due to my condition I automatically assume they are correct then fixate on the worst case scenario.
  7. May 13, 2015 #6
  8. May 13, 2015 #7


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    I don't see any comment suggesting that. And blog comments are certainly not reliable sources for science anyway.
  9. May 13, 2015 #8
    Hi mfb thanks for your response, the blog is by professor sabine hossenfelder who formerly worked at the LHC and left when it became apparent that black holes would not form there. The quotes I refer to are :

    1. David6:28 PM, May 12, 2015
      Wouldn't the proliferation of the vacuum decay move no faster than the speed of light? If so, then we would not immediately see (nor experience) any vacuum decay which started from a miniscule black hole many millions or billions of light years from us, correct? And if that is correct then that would not preclude the LHC creating one right here on Earth and starting the destruction of the Universe at our doorstep?

      Sabine Hossenfelder1:13 AM, May 13, 2015
      That's right, very good point. Most of the universe might already be destroyed, we just haven't noticed yet.

      David11:09 AM, May 13, 2015
      A related question...
      There have been calculations made of the time it would take a black hole to evaporate. It seems that the smaller they are, the faster they evaporate. A figure given by Wikipedia says that it is estimated that a black hole with roughly 2.28 × 10^5 kg mass would evaporate in about 1 second. Since any black holes created by the LHC would be on the order of 2-3 protons in mass, I would expect that the evaporation would be for all practical purposes instantaneous.
      My question: Has anyone estimated the time it would take for the vacuum decay to get started from a nucleation event, and compared that to the lifetime of a miniscule black hole with the mass of an atom, and then speculated as to who would win (the start of the nucleation event, or the complete evaporation of the miniscule black hole)?
      Another question (apologies for my rambling posts): As far as we know, what is the smallest increment of time that our universe can experience (assuming it is not a continuous scale)? Assuming there is a smallest time increment, I would think this would put a lower limit on the smallest black hole that could be created (if the theoretical evaporation time was less than the smallest allowed time increment then a black hole would not have time to form before it would evaporate).

      Sabine Hossenfelder11:26 AM, May 13, 2015

      The black hole either decays itself (evaporates) or it triggers vacuum decay. The question is what is more likely to happen. The answer is: it depends on the mass of the black hole. If they are very small, it's more likely to trigger vacuum decay instead of evaporating. Best,


      I was just hoping to get your opinions on this topic as its not something I had come across in my learning / reading before. Was intrigued to get an opinion / discussion with people who know this area so I can enhance my own knowledge :)
  10. May 13, 2015 #9


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    I have no idea where you have that from, but it is wrong in all aspects. She is a theoretical physicist. Some of her publications are relevant for the LHC, but that does not mean she would "work at the LHC". Which also means she did not leave it.
    She has an account here by the way, but I did not see her for a while.

    Those quotes just show what I said before: if black holes could induce vacuum decay, they would have done that elsewhere long ago.
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