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Dangers of the LHC

  1. Jun 24, 2007 #1
    Hi i was just wondering what the possible dangers of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) were?

    I've heard that there could be the creation of miniture black holes, which sounds to me like a bad idea!!! i take it that they could grow! I know people say that they will evaporate, but what if their theories are incorrect?

    Am i worried about nothing?

    - James Hart
    - Loughborough University - Student
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2007 #2
    http://doc.cern.ch/yellowrep/2003/2003-001/p1.pdf [Broken]

    Wikipedia lists:
    * Creation of a stable black hole
    * Creation of strange matter that is more stable than ordinary matter
    * Creation of magnetic monopoles that could catalyze proton decay
    * Triggering a transition into a different quantum mechanical vacuum (see False vacuum)

    http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/Content/Chapters/AskAnExpert/LHC-en.html#qb2 [Broken]
    Black holes?

    According to some theoretical models, tiny black holes could be produced in collisions at the LHC. They would then very quickly decay into what is known as Hawking radiation (the tinier the black hole, the faster it evaporates) which would be detected by experiments. Cosmic rays with very much more energy than that available at the LHC, could also in principle produce black holes. However no evidence for such phenomena has so far been found.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Jun 25, 2007 #3

    Yes you are worried about nothing. Besides, it still has to start right?

    CraigD, AMInstP
  5. Jun 25, 2007 #4
    There are very high energy collisions in the atmosphere already, and no black hole has absorbed us yet :smile:

    All those "dangers" have been investigated by a panel of major physicists. They have all been discarded as innocuous.
  6. Jun 25, 2007 #5
    but still, thats provided that their theories are accurate. Which i guess they won't know until the start the LHC.
  7. Jun 25, 2007 #6


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    But the "prediction" of the formation of blackholes are also speculation as well. So this blackhole formation is an assumption that they "theories" are accurate.

    You also missed the other part of what humanino mentioned, that there are even MORE energetic collisions that occurs very often beyond our early confines. In fact, there have been several suggestions of having a "particle collider detector" out in space that can capture all these thousands of TeV collisions. This is WAY beyond even what the LHC can achieve. Yet, we don't obviously see any "blackhole" formation anywhere in our vicinity. And this isn't a "theory" either since this is a direct observation, or non-observation in this case.

  8. Jul 14, 2007 #7
    Hello everyone,

    I'm not a physicist, I am just an ordinary student who happened to wonder across the LHC experiment a few days ago on the net. When I heard they could create nano black holes I was a little scared, so I done some research on the topics regarding the LHC, from both ends of the stick these range from the "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" side and the "relax it's fine" sides. Unfortunately I couldn't find much infomation on the topic, infact I keep going around in circles, looking for more concrete answers. The things the LHC could answer are great, and could lead to greater things, but is it worth the possible risk? to make my final conclusion I would like to ask you all some questions that you may know or may not know, but it's worth a try.

    1. CERN said they calculated a disaster scenario over a period of 10 years at 1 in 50,000,000, I was wondering, is this working on the asumption that Hawking Radiation is correct?

    If Hawking Radiation doesn't exist or work then:

    2. The risk evaluation foum online, along with other people says that the "cosmic ray" argument is misleading because any black holes created in this way would have strong momentum and would be knocked away into space, but the CERN black holes (if they exist) would come from two particles at the SAME speed coming from different directions.... in turn this would cancel momentum and SOME would be moving slowly.

    3. If the above is true then Greg Landsberg actualy calculated the pobability of slow nano black holes being created (based on his prediction that 1 nano black hole would be created every second), at 10^-5. That means 158 nano black holes by the end of the first year, not reaching the "escape velocity" what do you think of this argument?, it seems a bit like this can't be good...

    4. Again if the above is true then it leads on to the argument "It won't matter because these tiny things will take a year to eat one proton" - well what about the "force feed" effect the Earth's pressure would have on these nano black holes? Lansberg again said it would take trillions of years to eat the whole Earth, however I find it hard to believe he took into account the so called "force feed"effect, which, apparently slow nano black holes would be subjected to... so who posseses the better argument? Landsberg? or the others?

    5. what do you think of the letter sent to this evaluation forum at the very bottom of the page? http://www.risk-evaluation-forum.org/limits.htm any ideas?

    The following questions are more about CERN itself not the "what if" side.

    1. So what exactly is the deal here? are CERN actualy going to switch the LHC on, in May 2008 and let it run for 10 years? I've read they are ditching the "warm up." Sorry, but again i've not been able to find many details.

    2. If my question 3 is reviewed and seen as being legitimate, wouldn't it be safer for CERN to run the HLC breifly? (then that way any nano black holes created in this breif time should by reasonable chance avoid the probability of being slow, and draged down to the core, by Landsbergs caculation) I read somewhere that examining the "results" would be slow, however if that idea above was proposed, then atleast then we would know what we are dealing with... whether Hawking Radiation works... whether they evaporate, whether the cosmic ray argument is legitimate, and wether they posses strong momentum. I'm pretty sure this would answer many of the above questions I've put forward, and would also follow the ALARA principal and the precautinary principal,Hopefully this is what they are going to do? but again i'm just not sure, as I've not been able to find any details, maybe im missing something blatantly obvious...

    3. Has CERN actualy taken into consideration all of the arguments above? All i can find online are quotes the scientists said a fair while ago, with no mention or counter arguments against these put forward.... surely it's their job to do all this, and I imagine they have, but again I have no idea...

    4. Is it possible that workers are simply not allowed to release some of the infomation they posses about the project, that could deal with the questions above? I think it's unlikely, but just wondering.

    Finaly, I'm sure (I hope) some of you can take the time to argue these questions, and possibly prove these ideas wrong, I wouldn't be suprised if some of you laughed at my reasoning, :tongue2: as you undoubtably know alot more about the subject than I do, I just want to put my mind at ease thats all, so thank you all for your time, I look forward to hearing your replies.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  9. Jul 14, 2007 #8
    Yes, you are missing that the scientific justification of these statements (BH creation) are at the same level as the statement that Osama ben Laden surely will be democratically elected the next president of USA.

    Regards, Dany.
  10. Jul 14, 2007 #9
    lol ha ha, well although I look like a fool, thats cleared up my concerns a tad, so thanks alot, still if any one else can reply to this, it would be nice too - even if it is a public stoning, what the hell I dont mind, =)
  11. Jul 14, 2007 #10


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    this last point was mentioned in another thread. Measurements have been made on CR particles with energies about about 1020 eV, which is well beyond LHC. No BH's have been found.


    The Search for the Origins of the Highest Energy Cosmic Radiation


    http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_02/Lectures/Cosmo02/Presentations/Sigl.ppt (use 'save target as')

    This might be of interest to those interested in CR research - http://www.auger.org/qa/qa.html
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
  12. Jul 14, 2007 #11


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    I think that the worst scenario is partial destruction of the world. If all our theories are proven inaccurate, global suicide is the next better alternative.
  13. Jul 14, 2007 #12


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    Better to take a long vacation. :rofl:
  14. Jul 15, 2007 #13
    Supposing a black hole is formed; I understood that it's provable that it couldn't possibly enclose enough of the Earth's mass within its maximum possible schwarzschild radius before evaporating - through the simple expedient that it can't move fast enough. If it happened to collide with a stray neutron star, we might have a problem - but then we'd have a problem regardless of the presence of a mini black hole.
  15. Jul 15, 2007 #14
    yeah, it's more if the black holes don't evaporate, or if Hawking Radiation doesn't exist or work... Thats when the above "arguments" I gave come into play, but most physicists support the LHC, so maybe the arguments from the "risk evaluation forum" (link posted above) are groundless to any one with a strong physics background, like Anonym suggested.... I simply don't know because I don't have a physics background, thats why I came here asking for thoughts or even reasurance.... So by the slim chance hawking radiation doesn't work or exist are teh arguments I originaly posted still groundless?

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  16. Jul 15, 2007 #15


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  17. Jul 15, 2007 #16
    Wow ZapperZ, thats quite something, I take it the reason I'm not seeing the the "whole picture" (the reason I felt worried when I saw those arguments) is because of the lack of physics background I have? I find physics very interesting, but as i'm only at secondry school, we don't actualy get taught this sort of stuff, quite advanced... maybe I will persue it though, we'll have to wait and see = )

  18. Jul 15, 2007 #17
    Great American news! A. Einstein never accepted the existence of BH and Y.B.Zeldovich et al clearly demonstrated why 40 years ago.

    Regards, Dany.

    P.S. Zz, may you respect me also through your comment on “HUP and Particle Accelerators”?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  19. Jul 15, 2007 #18
    so if Krauss is right, does that mean it's more than likely that nano BHs can't be made as they shouldn't exist... or does it mean that what we see in the universe and thought were BHs could still be made? it mentions Hawking radiation from the link Zz gave... does Krauss maths provide more evidence towards it? sorry again people, it's quite hard for me to get my head around all this, but thanks anyway, really interesting stuff!

    Regards, < ( . _ . < )
  20. Jul 16, 2007 #19
    I'm afraid of the LHC. When I read of “energies not seen since the big bang” and “creating micro black holes”, I feel uncomfortable. Then I read Neil Cornish, an astrophysicist at Montana State University, saying this:

    Indeed, the fluctuations we see in the CMB are thought to be generated by a process that is closely analogous to Hawking radiation from black holes...

    ..and discomfort becomes alarm. The risk assessment cuts no ice, because they could be fooling themselves like NASA fooled themselves about O rings. I'm sorry. But this sounds very much like an unacceptable risk.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2007
  21. Jul 16, 2007 #20


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    You somehow have completely ignored the FACT that has been mentioned at least twice in this thread. So I'll bold it here:

    There are already HIGHER energy particle collision occurring out in space that can be achieved by the LHC. We're talking about hundreds of TeV here, something the LHC would not even approach.

    Now, if you believe in such blackhole scenario, you need to calm yourself down, and ask yourself why we don't see these blackholes forming and swallowing our world from all of these many, many high energy collisions.

  22. Jul 16, 2007 #21
    Zz, is the momentum argument in that "risk evaluation forum" basically rubbish? I think they argue that we don't see these BHs created from high energy particle collisions, because momentum created throws them far into space?... however due to the exact same speed collisions in the LHC momentum, by Greg Landsberg's calculation could cancel eachother out, at the probability suggested earlier, which could be a problem or may not... Then there is Hawking radiation to think of, which Krauss' maths seems to be supporting from the link you gave... (unless i'm reading it wrong) In the end however I don't think the scientists behind this are so stupid to overlook these arguments, so I imagine the reason you dubbed them groundless, is for the same reasons they would (or have) however an explanation as to why they are groundless would be nice.

    Thanks again
  23. Jul 16, 2007 #22


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    I was at Brookhaven when RHIC was about to go online and almost the SAME type of analysis was done. There was the same "blackhole" scare, this time originated by Frank Wilczek (who later on published another study that discounted this, but many people missed it). So you can understand why I'm truly skeptical of such claims, even when we are doing a higher energy here.

    And as you've said, you have to give these physicists at least SOME credit in terms of intelligence. After all, if something goes wrong, they would be the first one to get it. This scenario has been looked at several times. If people want ZERO probability of risk, then these people are living in the wrong universe. How "low" is acceptable? There's a considerable risk when you drive on the expressway, yet you still do. The problem isn't the risk analysis study. The problem is how people who read it use it.

  24. Jul 16, 2007 #23

    I'm satisfied that there's a supermassive black hole at the centre of just about every galaxy, I'm happy that giant stars collapse to form black holes, even if there are issues regarding the central singularity. But with unsolved mysterious such as dark matter, I'm simply not happy to hear physicists talking about creating micro black holes in a laboratory. If there had been no talk at all of this I wouldn't be afraid of the LHC. But whether it's irresponsible or not, there is, so I am. I'm afraid of it like I'm afraid of flying, especially when I'm with my wife and children. Yes I can be confident that the plane isn't going to crash. But for some it did, and so we hold hands when we take off.

    My brother in law is a risk management consultant. Now and then we talk a little about his work. The recurrent theme is a refusal to face up to the possibility and consequence of mishap. People can be horrifyingly blinkered, because they "believe", and therefore they just don't think. After the calamity occurs, you rake over the coals and pick over the bones, and wonder what on earth possessed them to be so utterly foolish. You find yourself saying What were they thinking?, and the answer is, they weren't. Not at all.

    As it happens, whilst I have opinion, I have no beliefs. I don't believe in the black hole scenario. I don't have belief, I have fear. And as it happens, I'm not afraid of a black hole swallowing the earth. I'm afraid of a runaway. What I'm afraid of is a big bang.

    My reasoning for this are not facile, but this forum is not an appropriate place to discuss it. The risk is total, and is therefore not acceptable.
  25. Jul 16, 2007 #24


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    But you are basing this not on solid information, but guess work and, worst still, ignorance of the physics. You might as well be afraid of ghosts. That is what I've been trying to point out. Existing evidence shows that we have PLENTY of energetic collision going on all around the earth. Observatories such as the Auger Observatories are looking at gamma rays and Cerenkov radiation created by all these energetic collisions that are WAY more energetic that what LHC can come up with. So where are your blackholes here, or your "big bang" that might cause such a "runaway"? This is what I want you to try to answer for yourself, because you are missing whole body of evidence that you haven't even considered to be inconsistent with what you are saying here.

  26. Jul 16, 2007 #25
    No. Voltage bases this on what he read. Every professional physicist knows what is right and what is wrong in reality and what the reality is. The problem is that too many professional charlatans breed last time.

    Regards, Dany.
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