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  #1  
Old 29 March 2008, 02:54 PM
RBCal RBCal is offline
 
 
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Fright CERN's New Particle Accelerator May Create a Black Hole that Could Destroy the Earth?

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A giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole or something else that will spell the end of the Earth — and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely — though they have done some checking just to make sure.

The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.

But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.”
Black Hole?
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  #2  
Old 29 March 2008, 03:20 PM
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I love this quote at the end of the article, which pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter.
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Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”
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  #3  
Old 29 March 2008, 08:59 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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I had thought this topic had been kicked around here before... Anyway, I would say that the strongest rebuttal to this concern is that naturally-occurring "cosmic ray" particles strike the earth, pretty much all the time, with energies far greater than in any man-made collider. If a particle collision could kill us all, it would have already.

Silas
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  #4  
Old 29 March 2008, 09:11 PM
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Der Induktionator Der Induktionator is offline
 
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They're going about this all wrong. Instead of going to the hawaiian district court, they should go to the Pope instead.
After all, who is better qualified to make a ruling on whether the CERN experiment is safe?
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  #5  
Old 29 March 2008, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Der Induktionator View Post
They're going about this all wrong. Instead of going to the hawaiian district court, they should go to the Pope instead.
After all, who is better qualified to make a ruling on whether the CERN experiment is safe?
is this a joke I'm not getting? Or just random anticatholicism?
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  #6  
Old 29 March 2008, 10:44 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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Somebody says this every time a particle accelerator gets switched on...
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  #7  
Old 30 March 2008, 12:08 AM
Troodon Troodon is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
If a particle collision could kill us all, it would have already.

Silas
How do you know it hasn't? I bet it could kill you but make you think that you were still alive...
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  #8  
Old 30 March 2008, 01:14 AM
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Namowal Namowal is offline
 
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Quote:
the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth.
If the tiny black hole == McDonald's, this has already happened.
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  #9  
Old 30 March 2008, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Somebody says this every time a particle accelerator gets switched on...
My first thought was the University of Chicago accellerator, back before the atomic bomb - they had even less knowledge about subparticles then, and feared the same thing. (The name of the location escapes me at the moment - it begins with an L, and I'm going to smack myself when someone finds it).

Quote:
Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”
Or it could make dragons that shoot flower petals at us, much to our delight and amusement. That would be pretty awesome.

HenryB
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  #10  
Old 30 March 2008, 03:03 PM
RBCal RBCal is offline
 
 
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Cosmic ray particles are protons and far different from strangelets (anti-matter). The Hadron collider is more powerful than any particle accelerator made and will create new particles that have only been theorized to date.. Also, according to the following report from NPR some scientists actually think that it will create miniature black holes.
Quote:
Some theories say it is possible the collider will cause miniature black holes to momentarily appear.

Miniature Black Holes

What are they? Teeny tiny, superdense objects.

Yikes, should I be worried? No, they wouldn't live long. Estimates are a thousandth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.

How do you detect one? A miniature black hole would collapse and can create all particle types that exist.

Likelihood mini black holes really will appear? Physicists agree they're a long shot. Miniature black holes appear in some theories that say there are extra, tiny dimensions to space-time. And while the idea of extra dimensions is popular — as part of something called string theory for instance — they don't necessarily allow for mini black holes.
CERN Accelerator
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  #11  
Old 30 March 2008, 04:30 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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I caught something about this last night on TV. They were hoping to create these tiny black holes. They also went on to stay they would be unstable and last only a fraction of a second since they would not posses the enough mass to me stable for any great length of time.
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  #12  
Old 30 March 2008, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBCal View Post
Also, according to the following report from NPR some scientists actually think that it will create miniature black holes.
I have a theory that a miniature black hole that is exactly the size and shape of all my favorite socks, (but only just ONE of them) has existed in my house for some years now.
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  #13  
Old 31 March 2008, 12:19 AM
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The really silly thing about all of this is that tiny black holes wouldn't suck things in, and certainly wouldn't suck in the whole Earth. It wouldn't be strong enough to grow even if it did live more than a few trillionths of a second. A black hole is a small object with giant mass. Let's say it has the incredibly giant mass of a piano. It's not going to warp space and time any more than a piano does. It might cause some very interesting effects on a tiny scale, unlike a piano, but gravity on those scales is extremely weak. Otherwise, you'd get stuck to the Steinway every time you wanted to play.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 31 March 2008 at 12:25 AM.
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  #14  
Old 31 March 2008, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBCal View Post
Cosmic ray particles are protons and far different from strangelets (anti-matter).
I think you missed the point of the cosmic rays. The point isn't that cosmic rays are like the particles that will be created but that cosmic rays are constantly bombarding the Earth and other objects in space and therefore sometimes create conditions similar to that in the accelerators. Even if it's extremely extremely rare the shear number of collisions would ensure that similar conditions exist very often.

The particles being accelerated in the lab are also ordinary particles, like cosmic rays. The strangelets (not antimatter, which has already been created long ago in the lab) and other particles have more than likely been created many times over the past few hundred years (if we're worried about massive energy release), much more over the past few thousand years (if we're worried about destruction of a continent), and hundreds of thousands of times more in the past few billion years (if we're worried about little black holes eating us whole).
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  #15  
Old 31 March 2008, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callee View Post
is this a joke I'm not getting? Or just random anticatholicism?
I'm guessing it's a Dan Brown Angels & Demons reference, in which CERN, a particle accelerator, and the pope are all major players. It's a lot better than The DaVinci Code, but it's still a long way from serious literature.
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  #16  
Old 31 March 2008, 02:34 AM
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I remember hearing on NPR they were going to start up the world last summer, August I believe, and I got all excited, then heard nothing about it. I have the old NPR online articles bookmarked somewhere.

So yeah, it has come up before. Wonder if it'll get delayed again this year?
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  #17  
Old 31 March 2008, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”
Screw the dragons. If we're to meet our ultimate demise via digestion, the collider could at least have the common courtesy to produce zombies!
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  #18  
Old 31 March 2008, 05:17 AM
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Der Induktionator Der Induktionator is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callee View Post
is this a joke I'm not getting? Or just random anticatholicism?
Apologies. It was meant as a somewhat sarcastic joke, and I didn't intend it to be sound anticatholic.
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  #19  
Old 31 March 2008, 06:57 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”
Dice throwing and dragons. At least we know what he does in his spare time.
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  #20  
Old 31 March 2008, 07:32 AM
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Will they give a helicopter cancer with it?
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