LHC Unlikely to Swallow Earth

  by  |  September 9th, 2008  |  Published in All, Blog, Physics & Space


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Despite a press release that includes the phrases “universe-gobbling black holes” and “the power to destroy Earth,” we apparently have nothing to fear when physicists flip the switch on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on Wednesday.

The LHC is a giant particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles in the world, and will hopefully fill in gaps in our fundamental understanding of the universe. Scientists will use the LHC to recreate conditions present just after the Big Bang by causing beams of subatomic particles to collide.

But some scientists raised the possibility that these collisions could create “micro black holes” – a theoretical risk that has caused some concern; however, CERN dismisses the risk, and Friday’s announcement by the Institute of Physics assured us that the LHC has been reviewed and found completely safe by the LHC Safety Assessment Group.

I suppose I can see why people might be worried—the name “Big Bang” doesn’t exactly scream puppies and lollipops—but, note to the people at the IOP: You’re bound to raise some eyebrows when you report that any hypothetical black holes produced by the LHC would be harmless because they “could not gobble matter at a risky rate.” No worries, folks, when we create our black holes, they won’t destroy the earth fast enough to concern you!

Among the other comforting facts produced by the safety report is that any energy produced by the collision of particles would be comparable to a clash between two mosquitoes (which could be considerable, if you’re talking about the feral mosquitoes from the swamps of New Jersey…). The group also noted that the energy equivalent of one hundred thousand LHC experiments have already taken place in nature and—good news—Earth is still here.

Okay, I’m convinced…let’s go crash some particles!

Elsewhere on the Web

The physicists at Cosmic Variance tend to agree — nothing to worry about.

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Responses

  1. Top 10 End of the World Scenarios | ScienCentral says:

    September 10th, 2008 at 1:22 pm (#)

    [...] CERN researchers flipped the switch of the Large Hadron Collider and–woo hoo!–we’re all still alive! In celebration of living yet another day, we offer up a Top Ten list featuring the Ghosts of [...]

  2. Derek Keith says:

    September 15th, 2008 at 11:19 am (#)

    Serious point: If there is a GOD and he made all things from the beginning then how did it happen? The only reference book says that it was by the spoken work. If this is the case then perhaps the scientist should experiment by talking to the reaction just as it happens. Say (speak out) for example “BALL” and see if the reaction goes off in a circle or “CUBE” and see if it tries to form a square and so on. It must be worth the try and you never know till you give ie a go?

    Derek Keith

  3. J says:

    September 15th, 2008 at 11:40 am (#)

    This comment is mislabled. It was stated as being a “serious point” on the page I see. However, it was a good example of two-dimensional thinking.

  4. john connore says:

    September 15th, 2008 at 1:59 pm (#)

    I'm curious to hear the god squads comments on this experiment

  5. Christ says:

    September 15th, 2008 at 11:03 pm (#)

    Read the Urantia book, http://www.urantiabook.org and find out.

    Christ Michael

  6. jim says:

    September 16th, 2008 at 12:09 am (#)

    Derek, all I can say with any respect at all to you is,..you're an idiot. May the Creator of ALL things, Great and Small, have mercy on your ignorance.

  7. Inteligent Designite says:

    September 16th, 2008 at 8:08 am (#)

    I have heard that the difference between God and a scientist is that God doesn't play at being a scientist. I'm pretty sure that the implication of the biblical story is that it was God who was speaking the universe into existence.

  8. Shankar Jog says:

    September 16th, 2008 at 9:57 am (#)

    It is foolish to talk such thing as Goa created everything. There is no Goa other than in imagination of so called faithfuls/religious people. The fact is that God was created by men for their mental satisfaction. They can never find God as it is non-existant.

  9. Kevin says:

    September 16th, 2008 at 5:54 pm (#)

    The problem with christianity is that it stifles the mind into believing a lot of fiction in a book that was assemble by a Roman Emperor. Go figure. This explains the reason why people follow corrupt, inept leaders like Bush

  10. Jerico says:

    September 22nd, 2008 at 1:07 am (#)

    Realy? I dont think so, i think its not harmful for us to consider some of the claims which you think hard to prove that is congruent to the point that you cannot justify easily why you are here in the world asking whats the purpose of your existence, if you tried to figure out why then you have to think for reasons to support why you exist. You cannot generalize christianity as saying that anybody who believes about Christ is a christian, christianity is not a word to refer a person who knows Christ but to a person who practice the teaching of Christ, but this is not only the case, christianity is not only by that, the pure meaning is in the core of definitions, diving to the most empirical definition that describes about christianity. Why I say so? It's because there are people that cliams they are christians indeed they are not within the empirical description of becoming a christian.

  11. Jerico says:

    September 22nd, 2008 at 1:19 am (#)

    Maybe I have to elaborate more about christianity that had been linked towards roman empire as what Kevin had said. FYI Romans failed to be within the empirical definition of christianity, they use christianity as the tool for catholicism and if im not mistaken catholicism means universality. Roman empire before according to the history is in the struggle of widening its territory by conquering neighboring states and even in the Sout East Asia. They use christianity as the spearhead of there hiden agenda. What romans in the past centuries and even now so to speak are integrating PAGANISTIC beliefs as it is shown in their RITUALS and they rename their own creative integrations as christianity. Therefore, there is a profound misconceptions nowadays that connects christianity to roman infact NOT in the real sense. I think its time to correct that misconceptions.

  12. r says:

    September 25th, 2008 at 6:52 am (#)

    Who do you think created us and all that exists? And why did there come about such troubles after a perfect world? And is there relief from all the troubles?

  13. Justin says:

    March 27th, 2009 at 10:37 am (#)

    uummm…Ithought the earth will be destroyed by 3rd impact. That a big red planet double the size of Jupiter will squash earth…

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