Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

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

    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)

    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: Apr 22, 2017 at 6:18 PM
  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


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    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


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    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


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017 at 6:37 PM
  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 at 6:38 PM
  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


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    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.

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Dangers of the LHC
  1. The LHC (Replies: 18)

  2. LHC News (Replies: 19)

  3. Luminosity in LHC (Replies: 3)

  4. Operations at the LHC (Replies: 7)