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CERN's Black Hole that can eat the earth


CaptainPanic
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No it hasn't.

 

It is a bit peculiar that people are so panicy about black holes. Why do they think black holes are dangerous? After all, a black hole weighting 1 kg would have no more gravitational attraction than 1 kg of iron, so it wouldn't "suck you in".

 

The difference between the two is:

 

  • When something gets too close to the black hole, it gets sucked in, adding to the mass of the black hole.

 

  • When something gets too close to the onion, it bumps against the outside of the onion.

On earth, things move. If the black hole doesn't suck something into it, it is still possible that something hits it. In fact, an average nitrogen molecule ([ce] N2 [/ce]) travels several hundreds of meters per second (at room temperature).

 

I hope that there is a very good vacuum in that Large Hadron Collider. It is perhaps necessary for the experiments, but it might be considered a safety feature too, if the Hawking radiation doesn't work like we think it does.

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Except this brings us back to really high energy cosmic rays that haven't caused us a problem. Significantly higher energy, though the collisions aren't happening with us in the center-of-mass frame.

 

The basic problem is you will never get a physicist to say "zero" when he/she can say "extremely small."

 

 

I wouldn't say that.

 

The example was bound-state neutrons, though, rather than in the context of ionizing radiation.

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You mean lie? ;)

 

LOL, yes.

Are you in research? You have no idea the fudging I have to do to explain 'what I do'.

Let alone the total misrepresentation I have to spout just to get a girl at a party to not run away.

 

More practically though, scientists / engineers don't seem to realize how others view what we consider as easy to understand. Perhaps it stems from a social naiveness.

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lol yes I am...

 

And I don't fudge... really... I didn't for my dissertation certainly...

 

"I shine light at magnetised stuff and see what happens, it makes your computer better" is my normal explanation of what I do... dunno what I'll say for my phd "I shine stuff like light at metal and see how it wobbles". I did like one of my summer projects "I shine light at really tiny stuff and see what happens" :D

 

But yes I do agree that scientists in general need to find a way to stop journalists going crazy over every tiny little thing...

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lol yes I am...

 

And I don't fudge... really... I didn't for my dissertation certainly...

 

"I shine light at magnetised stuff and see what happens, it makes your computer better" is my normal explanation of what I do... dunno what I'll say for my phd "I shine stuff like light at metal and see how it wobbles". I did like one of my summer projects "I shine light at really tiny stuff and see what happens" :D

 

But yes I do agree that scientists in general need to find a way to stop journalists going crazy over every tiny little thing...

 

I'd hate to try to explain my research to a journalist, even a well meaning one!

 

I am interested in the idea of presenting research to the public as they fund a lot of good work. It is only right that we prove to them it is money well spent.

 

No idea how I would explain my work in a meaningful way to almost anyone who does not work in the same field or something similar.

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Thanks for the links. I guessed already that there was some scifi-journalist who started the idea of the black hole that eats the earth.

 

There is one thing that still concerns me. The CERN guys seem to use the reasoning: what we do is less powerful/violent than what nature throws at us from space. Earth still exists. Therefore we do safe things.

 

It is not the reasoning I was hoping for. CERN's reasoning is a a workaround-reasoning. "Look, birds can fly, they still exist... therefore, flying is safe... therefore, let's jump off this building", in stead of some calculation which takes aerodynamics and a force-balance into account. (Ok, not my best analogy, but I hope you guys see what I mean. Are we 100% certain that what we're trying at CERN is happening all the time in nature, under the exact same conditions?) - btw, I am merely saying that the CERN website does not seem to give me the info I want. Perhaps it is available, but I haven't found it.

 

It is more like saying "If I drop a beetle from any height it won't get hurt because it has a very high surface area to mass ratio. An ant has an even higher surface area to mass ratio, so no matter where I drop it it won't get hurt."

 

As mentioned by others, the nature example is actually more convincing than the theoretical reasoning. People have made many mistakes in theory. But we have been constantly bombarded by very high energy particles from outer space since the creation of the earth, and no black hole has come of it. Since it is the energy of the collisions that might create the black hole, and cosmic rays can have higher energies than the LHC can produce, if the LHC can destroy the earth it should have already happened.

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I hope that there is a very good vacuum in that Large Hadron Collider. It is perhaps necessary for the experiments, but it might be considered a safety feature too, if the Hawking radiation doesn't work like we think it does.

To be honest a vacuum isn't really going to help, yes it won't get as big as fast but what are you really going to do with a black hole, not like you can just put it in landfill. :P

 

Except this brings us back to really high energy cosmic rays that haven't caused us a problem. Significantly higher energy, though the collisions aren't happening with us in the center-of-mass frame.

 

The basic problem is you will never get a physicist to say "zero" when he/she can say "extremely small."

That is the whole problem if you don't say there is no chance of it happening, which most scientists won't then the media takes that to mean the imminent destruction of the world is certain.
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even if we do make a micro black hole, it is going to be travelling at over a thousand times earth escape velocity(and hundreds of times solar/galactic) escape velocity so we just turn the magnets off and its gone even if it doesn't evapourate.

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I did a google under 'cern+strangelet' and got 34,000 hits. Plenty of data out there. For example ;

 

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/lhc_cern_hawaiian_botanist_lawsuit/

 

I quote :

 

"A lawsuit has been filed in Hawaii in an attempt to hold up the start of operations by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) atom-smasher on the French-Swiss border.

 

A colourful American botanist, teacher, former biologist and sometime physicist says (in outline) that the LHC may rip a hole in the fabric of the space-time continuum and so destroy the Earth. He wants the US government to act now and delay the LHC's startup while a new safety review is carried out.

 

Walter L Wagner and his fellow Hawaiian Luis Sancho, according to a report on MSNBC, filed suit in the Hawaii federal court last Friday. The men are worried about one of several planet-busting physicists' nightmares being unleashed in the LHC's bowels deep beneath the Franco-Swiss countryside."

 

While this all seems very light hearted, and the result of a couple of pseudo-scientific idiots, we should remember that the reassurances stem from theory, not empirical data.

 

Who knows ......

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But we have been constantly bombarded by very high energy particles from outer space since the creation of the earth, and no black hole has come of it.

 

Actually the conclusion is somewhat different. We could be getting a black hole a day from this. It's just that they haven't consumed the earth.

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Actually the conclusion is somewhat different. We could be getting a black hole a day from this. It's just that they haven't consumed the earth.

 

Good catch. I meant that it should be safe, no black holes of the eat earth variety.

 

even if we do make a micro black hole, it is going to be travelling at over a thousand times earth escape velocity(and hundreds of times solar/galactic) escape velocity so we just turn the magnets off and its gone even if it doesn't evapourate.

 

That's an aspect I hadn't thought of. However, if it hit enough particles it would slow down very rapidly. And this brings up interesting questions. Would a mini-black hole react only gravitationally (or electromagnetically if it is charged)? How easy would it be to hit something with a particle that only reacts gravitaionally? Would it just pass through everything like a neutrino? Could a mini-black hole eat a single quark while leaving the other two?

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The basic problem is you will never get a physicist to say "zero" when he/she can say "extremely small."

Even though every physicist "knows" that the photon has zero rest mass, you will never get a physicist to say unequivocally that photon's rest mass is identically zero. While a non-zero rest mass would destroy a lot of the standard model, theoretical physicists will not say with absolute certainty that the photon's rest mass is identically zero. There is always a slim chance that there is some unknown gaping flaw in the standard model.

 

Experimental physicists have performed multiple measurements of the photon's rest mass. No experiment has of yet rejected the hypothesis that the photon has zero rest mass. In fact, the evidence is getting ever stronger that the rest mass is zero. There will always be some experimental error that prevents an unequivocal measurement of zero rest mass. The best experimentation can do is set an upper bound (an incredibly small upper bound). Experimentalists, like theoreticians, cannot say without equivocation say that the photon's rest mass is zero.

 

The point of this discussion: If physicists cannot unequivocally say that the photon's rest mass is zero, how can they possibly unequivocally reject a far-flung and highly dubious conjecture that does agree to some extent with accepted theory?

 

It's time we learnt how to speak to the media

 

No. It's well past time that the media learn a smidgin of science.

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wait, i thought that black holes were just super dense gravity wells, so dense that not even light could escape. so, how can there be micro-black holes? i thought they needed alot of mass to colapse onto itself?

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Who cares what a botanist has to say about physics? Did he do any calculations? Has anyone actually measured the shear strength of the "fabric of the space-time continuum" ?

 

Jon, according to some theories of quantum gravity, it might be possible for these "micro black holes" to form, though it is highly doubtful.

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A BH wouldn't necessarily have charge, but if you mean electromagnetic interactions in general, then I would say yes.

For example, if a "micro black hole" were a few centimeters away from me, I wouldn't be too worried, as the EM forces holding me together would probably be much stronger than any gravity.

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The fear here comes from the lack of empirical experience. In theory, a mini black hole will evaporate almost instantly and be seen no more. However, that is theory. Since no-one has actually made and studied a mini black hole, there will be a little bit of doubt. Maybe the theory is wrong and it will sit in the centre of the Earth and grow .......

 

And then there's that strangelet......

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