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Silly Physicists

  1. Jun 29, 2008 #1


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    Great. Just after we finally get both our truck and car paid off, those silly guys at CERN are going to create a black hole and destroy the planet. Just my luck.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080628/ap_on_re_eu/doomsday_collider [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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  3. Jun 29, 2008 #2


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    When the first atomic bomb was detonated, and then later the first thermonuclear weapon, there were scientists who thought the atmosphere would catch fire or undergo a thermonuclear reaction. Ummm - that didn't happen - nor could it have.

    Cosmic rays interact with the nuclei in the atmosphere - everyday. A small fraction of these particles have energies several orders of magntide greater than that of CERN LHC.

    Last time I checked - we're still here.
  4. Jun 29, 2008 #3
    I think fred was trying to be funny (successfully), but you are right astro.
  5. Jun 29, 2008 #4


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    I know FG was being funny, but I'm surprised that this nonsense still continues.

    I just looked out the window - the world is still out there where I left it.

    I'll keep checking - just to make sure! :rofl:
  6. Jun 29, 2008 #5
    I don't understand something about the way the magnet was lowered. Wouldn't it have been better to put a series of planks (in a manner of speaking - not wooden of course) under it, removing the top layers as the magnet continued down? (So if it dropped, it'd only fall a short distance.)

    Anyway, can they just flip the switch already? The excitement is killing me.
  7. Jun 29, 2008 #6

    I heard on a program on the history channel that the soviets? or maybe the US, creatred a bomb that was just the right size and amount to possibly cause a run-a-way reaction with some elements in the atmosphere, thus causing it to burn.
  8. Jun 29, 2008 #7


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    The earth's atmosphere is simply not dense enough, nor the magnetic or gravity fields strong enough, to sustain a fusion reaction, which ostensibly would be the CNO cycle. The energy from any thermonuclear device dissipates too quickly.
  9. Jun 29, 2008 #8
    If it were to stop, though from what previous posts seem to suggest unlikely would that make it like the biggest waste of money EVER (US$5 - 10 Billion) And I thought the Millennium Dome was bad...
  10. Jun 29, 2008 #9
    Sadly, even in the case they shut it down, it would still be several orders of magnitude away from being the biggest waste of money ever.

  11. Jun 29, 2008 #10
    Yeah, I've known about it for a few months. I know that these guys are a bunch of crazies, but at some level I am concerned that they may convince enough people to stop funding the LHC. Unfortunately, most of the people who write our checks don't have PhDs in physics, so we do have to address even the most foolish of concerns.

    On the other hand, it's a good thing I'm in high energy astrophysics. The cool thing about havig God supply the acceleration mechanism is that you only have to pay for the detector. Of course you also have no idea what the accelerator is doing...
  12. Jun 29, 2008 #11
    Looks like the Earth-eating black hole machine might have a chance yet!:rofl:

    Government Seeks Dismissal of End-of-World Suit Against Collider

  13. Jun 29, 2008 #12


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    Ya know...that was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the story. The only thing about that is that even some of Oppenheimer's guys thought that it might happen. They simply didn't know. I give them a gazillion times more credibility than these whack-os in Hawaii or wherever they are.
  14. Jun 29, 2008 #13


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    This is reminiscent of Andrei Sakharov's plea for a ban on experimentation with vacuum energy. Given the highly energetic stuff that happens all over the universe, it should be assumed that the quantum vacuum field is stable against disruption, but Sakharov thought that the current condition of the vacuum was only one possible phase state and that triggering a phase change through experimentation could destroy the universe. It sounds like a pretty silly idea that we humans could destabilize the vacuum, when there are GRBs, quasars, supernovae, etc, kicking up some pretty impressive tantrums. Still the universe looks to be OK.
  15. Jun 29, 2008 #14


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    Do archeologists have to do this kind of risk assesments?
    Risk: opening this tomb might unleash an ustoppable hoard of undead zombie mummies
    Outcome: end ofworld
    Likelyhood: low
  16. Jun 29, 2008 #15
    Apparently even casual astronomers should start doing risk assessments:

    Risk: Astronomical observations can cause the Universe to decay.
    Outcome: End of universe
    Likelyhood: low
  17. Jun 29, 2008 #16
    What gets me is that these people don't seem to care that the physicists dealing with the LHC are obviously experts in the field. However, some Hawaiians know better.
  18. Jun 29, 2008 #17


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    Seems strange to me that people who have chosen to live on volcanoes are worried about black holes. :uhh:
  19. Jun 29, 2008 #18


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    I was also thinking along these lines. I probably know nothing about particle physics, but I am worried, so I'll take them to court because I feel there could be something funny going on like making black holes.

    It's even funnier because, if they stopped and took the time, they could probably find four or five other aspects of something that large that could either delay or shut them down for a good length of time.
  20. Jun 29, 2008 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    However, according to one scientist involved, they didn't know then that it was impossible. There was even a number bantered around; something like a 0.1%, of the world ending [maybe far less but it was nonzero and not vanishingly small]. I remember thinking: How dare they take such a risk! Who had the right to authorize that one?

    As for the rest, it is very simple: There are many people who do not trust scientists; and in particular, physicists. It is perceived that scientists are too arrogant, and therefore dangerous. After all, who gave us the bomb?

    Keep in mind that these people are fearful and not primarily crackpots. They fear for their lives and for all of humanity, and they don't understand what is being done. They only know that scientists might be capable of wiping-out civilization - they know what a Hydrogen bomb explosion looks like.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  21. Jun 29, 2008 #20
    It's still spectacular that out of billions of people in the world someone would care to challenge the LHC.

    Anyways, wasn't the highest energy cosmic ray detected a single proton carrying a couple joules of energy?
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