The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive internationally-funded particle accelerator located in Switzerland, keeps hitting setbacks. Originally scheduled to power up around 2005, the project's latest snag—supports for the collider's many powerful magnets are failing—has pushed the start date to May of 2008 [this could also affect the Higgs Boson PPX proposition]. Scientists also reported that cooling the massive magnets to the required 1.9 degrees Kelvin (that's cold) seems to be taking “a little longer than planned". Personally, I'm glad they’re spending a bit of extra time to get everything perfect, since one theoretical failure situation could lead to the creation of a black hole that devours the earth.
VR photographer Peter McCready's series of 360-degree, high-resolution techno-porn shots depicting various parts of the amazing 27-kilometer underground complex (complete with soothingly industrial ambient background soundscapes—you can almost hear the magnets cooling) should keep your mind off doomsday long enough to remember that the LHC is probably a pretty good idea after all. Apocalypse watchers: you've got another year to rest easy. —Dan Smith
Link - petermcrready.com
That's quite simply the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!
Posted by: live television | July 14, 2007 at 07:38 AM
The comment about the failure situation is incorrect. Any black hole created by the LHC would "evaporate" via hawking radiation before doing any damage. Devouring the earth would require the black hole to have enough initial mass to last the few seconds required to get to more matter.
Posted by: Kinsey | July 14, 2007 at 10:39 AM
@live telivision You're no doubt right, but wouldn't it be in keeping with the human experience that just such a fluke "It couldn't happen in a million years" actually did occur, maybe because of some facts we don't as yet understand about the nature of black holes? Isn't it that why we're doing this thing, to find out more about how the universe works? We haven't seen a black hole yet, what do we know about the conditions required to build one?
Not to say I'm against scientific discovery, far from it. And if we did perchance managed to devour the earth, wouldn't that be a hoot :), what would be lost? An insignificant dirt ball with some inhabitants thinking themselves to be the main attraction.
Fire it up, already! I want me some collisions.
Posted by: Frances | July 14, 2007 at 11:22 AM
If this thing can create a black hole ... then they shouldn't play with it.
"Hawking radiation" is currently a theoretical concept. It would really be a stupid move to contradict Hawking by destroying Earth & the solar system.
If Hawking radiation doesn't exist how the f**k are they going to "evaporate" a black whole ? (even a very small one).
There should be a backup plan. As it is now there is no backup plan, so they shouldn't do it.
Posted by: Razvan | July 14, 2007 at 12:03 PM
I think it would be completed in 2012! the first test run would be done on December 12 , 2012.
Posted by: kauf | July 14, 2007 at 12:40 PM
anyway , sangoku will save the earth.
Posted by: masked avenger | July 14, 2007 at 01:03 PM
This is CMS experiment, not ATLAS, you can see it by the colors: CMS is red and yellow, ATLAS is black and blue. :)
Posted by: eileann | July 14, 2007 at 02:43 PM
All this conjecture about black hole blah blah does one thing: it underlines humans' inability at proper risk assessment.
The statement should clearly have been: " Personally, I'm glad they’re spending a bit of extra time to get everything perfect, since one theoretical failure situation could lead to major damage to the system costing us *huge* amounts of money, if not scrapping the entire project."
The black hole concept is fallacious in several ways: it's highly unlikely that something manmade is a cosmic 'first post'. If the universe was so unstable as to allow haphazard formations of blackholes that sucked existence out of existence, then cosmic rays would have surely produced such a thing in the 4 billions of years that the earth has existed.
All of this aside, Hawking radiation is not a 'theory' in that someone (Hawking) took a guess at what the universe is like, and we haven't disproved it yet.
It is a theory that is indirectly supported by our entire experience. Yes, we haven't had the change to fondle a black hole at close distances yet, but that doesn't mean that our understanding of day to day events (like transistors and superconductors) is unable to give us a firm theoretical understanding of quantum theory - which has, I must add, so far not been contradicted by *any* observable phenomenon.
And a final PS: if the black hole were to occur, it would be quickly over. You wouldn't have Hollywood style panic. So rein in the fear.
Posted by: me | July 14, 2007 at 03:35 PM
"If Hawking radiation doesn't exist how the f**k are they going to "evaporate" a black whole ? (even a very small one)."
They'd place Paris Hilton and Bill 0'Reilly in it, which would reverse the event horizon, because two black holes of suckage cannot exist next to each other.
Posted by: Voteboob - A Sex Blog Experiment - Vote for Boobs! | July 14, 2007 at 05:51 PM
That chick is pretty cute...I wouldn't mind using my accelerator on her;)
Posted by: Dex | July 14, 2007 at 06:11 PM
Id put my accelerator directly into her black hole as well.
Posted by: Clayton | July 14, 2007 at 08:01 PM
Citing bubble-headed claim of the LHC creating earth-devouring black holes is a discredit to the Popular Science name.
It's disappointing that the writer of this glib little blurb couldn't do 30 minutes of web research to understand that LHC will be a pitifully feeble attempt to duplicate the cosmic ray collisions that happen right over our heads constantly.
The *only* thing that is special about the LHC is that there will be enormous data collection machines clustered around the particle collision points to study them. And, there's nothing ominious at all about those masses of wires, silicon chips, circuit boards, and metal as they silently collect data.
Posted by: frank | July 14, 2007 at 09:02 PM
Why are we messing with this if we know the possibilties of the destruction that my occur
Posted by: Mike | August 15, 2007 at 04:25 PM
The Large Hadron Collider [LHC] at CERN might create numerous different particles that heretofore have only been theorized. Numerous peer-reviewed science articles have been published on each of these, and if you google on the term "LHC" and then the particular particle, you will find hundreds of such articles, including:
1) Higgs boson
2) Magnetic Monopole
4) Miniature Black Hole [aka nano black hole]
In 1987 I first theorized that colliders might create miniature black holes, and expressed those concerns to a few individuals. However, Hawking's formula showed that such a miniature black hole, with a mass of under 10,000,000 a.m.u., would "evaporate" in about 1 E-23 seconds, and thus would not move from its point of creation to the walls of the vacuum chamber [taking about 1 E-11 seconds travelling at 0.9999c] in time to cannibalize matter and grow larger.
In 1999, I was uncertain whether Hawking radiation would work as he proposed. If not, and if a mini black hole were created, it could potentially be disastrous. I wrote a Letter to the Editor to Scientific American [July, 1999] about that issue, and they had Frank Wilczek, who later received a Nobel Prize for his work on quarks, write a response. In the response, Frank wrote that it was not a credible scenario to believe that minature black holes could be created.
Well, since then, numerous theorists have asserted to the contrary. Google on "LHC Black Hole" for a plethora of articles on how the LHC might create miniature black holes, which those theorists believe will be harmless because of their faith in Hawking's theory of evaporation via quantum tunneling.
The idea that rare ultra-high-energy cosmic rays striking the moon [or other astronomical body] create natural miniature black holes -- and therefore it is safe to do so in the laboratory -- ignores one very fundamental difference.
In nature, if they are created, they are travelling at about 0.9999c relative to the planet that was struck, and would for example zip through the moon in about 0.1 seconds, very neutrino-like because of their ultra-tiny Schwartzschild radius, and high speed. They would likely not interact at all, or if they did, glom on to perhaps a quark or two, barely decreasing their transit momentum.
At the LHC, however, any such novel particle created would be relatively 'at rest', and be captured by Earth's gravitational field, and would repeatedly orbit through Earth, if stable and not prone to decay. If such miniature black holes don't rapidly evaporate and are produced in copious abundance [1/second by some theories], there is a much greater probability that they will interact and grow larger, compared to what occurs in nature.
There are a host of other problems with the "cosmic ray argument" posited by those who believe it is safe to create miniature black holes. This continuous oversight of obvious flaws in reasoning certaily should give one pause to consider what other oversights might be present in the theories they seek to test.
I am not without some experience in science.
In 1975 I discovered the tracks of a novel particle on a balloon-borne cosmic ray detector. "Evidence for Detection of a Moving Magnetic Monopole", Price et al., Physical Review Letters, August 25, 1975, Volume 35, Number 8. A magnetic monopole was first theorized in 1931 by Paul A.M. Dirac, Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series A 133, 60 (1931), and again in Physics Review 74, 817 (1948). While some pundits claimed that the tracks represented a doubly-fragmenting normal nucleus, the data was so far removed from that possibility that it would have been only a one-in-one-billion chance, compared to a novel particle of unknown type. The data fit perfectly with a Dirac monopole.
While I would very much love to see whether we can create a magnetic monopole in a collider, ethically I cannot currently support such because of the risks involved.
For more information, go to: www.LHCdefense.org
Walter L. Wagner (Dr.)
Posted by: Walter L. Wagner | September 14, 2007 at 01:09 AM
Im still learning about this subject so if anyone can help me out a bit i would appreciate it. As far as i understand if this black hole was to be created it would fizzle out in an extremely quick period of time due to a lack of required mass, the hawkings radiation theory. Would it not be possible to "feed" it so to speak with enough material to form a lasting black hole with a mass abouve 10,000,000 a.m.u.?
Would containment failure do the job or would you have to "feed" with enough particles first to continue with the matter-antimatter production.
If anyone can answer these questions it would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Posted by: stewart | December 28, 2007 at 05:29 PM
totally from left feild here but ok, what say they found the Boson particle validated the Hawkings theory, and proved all they set out to...found this, saw that, even made a tame black hole that did just what they said...can someone tell me just how this will trickle down to joe public? I mean will this result in...what? exactly. and i am fully into experimenting but spending squillions just so people in white coats can say there you go! we were right!
Posted by: mike Ryan | January 10, 2008 at 04:35 AM
The Mayans predicted the world will end in December 2012:( Now i'm really scared:(
Posted by: kris | March 05, 2008 at 11:10 AM
@kris - they most certainly did NOT.
The Mayans predicted 'the end of the world' during the spring solstice of 2012... if the world ends when the calendar does.
Except, of course, that the calendar doesn't 'end', the Mayans believed in a repeating calendar cycle. IIRC it's the 'fourth age' which will end in 2012, but the world will keep going.
Feel better now?
Posted by: Lise | March 11, 2008 at 07:28 AM
I think if you do more research you will find that it's not a black hole that would be produced, by even the slightest miscalculation on the physicists part, but something called a strangelet and a stranglet theoretically would consume any matter that comes into contact with it.
Posted by: craigdjm | March 26, 2008 at 08:33 AM
I know that breaking the speed of light is debatable, What will happen if the collider did break the speed of light?
Posted by: Tony Rawlings | April 06, 2008 at 04:59 PM
I know that breaking the speed of light is debatable, What will happen if the collider did break the speed of light?
Posted by: Tony Rawlings | April 06, 2008 at 05:03 PM
Tony - then the speed of light will have been broken and maybe the debate would be over -;)
Posted by: Sun | April 07, 2008 at 11:21 AM
What is the big deal if a black hole is created? The result would put our perception of all matter into another dimension. So we get our answers the hard way. No big deal. We all go sooner or later anyway.
Posted by: stevestrib | April 12, 2008 at 03:49 PM
As i see here some of u are pro and some are against this thing. Well a pro thing would be finding a new untamed power source wich will make easy traveling thru space. And a contra thing woud be destroing the Earth and a few planets. Just think if tat 27 miles thingy would have a 100`th of a milimeter gap in it... KABOOM!!
I am no scientist or someone that knows phisics and math but wouldn`t it have been better to build that thing in space or somewere (dark side of the moon )??
Posted by: Alex | May 10, 2008 at 06:49 PM
Posted by: Jeremy | May 19, 2008 at 12:28 AM