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Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes After All

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the act-now-while-supplies-last dept.

Science 269

cremeglace writes with this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "You've heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world's new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up the Earth — physicists say that's impossible — and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein's theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole." That said, they estimate the required energy for creating a black hole this way to be roughly "a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum"; though if one of the theories requiring compact extra dimensions is true, the energy could be lower.

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1st (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30879968)

Yeah!

Re:1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880098)

"1st"? You cheated. Don't you know there's a ten character minimum?

No harm, no foul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30879982)

If it doesn't create a black hole, the earth isn't destroyed.
If it does create a black hole, and does destroy the earth, it won't matter, since we won't be alive to experience how horrible it will be.

Re:No harm, no foul (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881262)

I am more likely to trust a peer review from the guys at the LHC, when they talk about their research, than the IPCC folks, when they talk about theirs.

If we are killed or destroyed by an accidentally conceived black hole (insert sex joke), it will be before we are harmed by anything the IPCC predicted.

Larry Niven's "Hole Man" describes a possible ending. In his story, a small black hole is released into Mar's core. He paints the picture of it bouncing around the core, consuming as it went. Eventually, Mars would become unstable and break apart.

Not knowing the exact calculations, and depending upon the size of the item, isn't it more likely that such a black hole would consume enough to turn itself into a less dangerous dense sphere?

CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30879984)

Quantum black holes are unstable. Now if they manage to create a tuned string [davidbrin.com] we need to start worrying.

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (2, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880244)

Oh dear... that means a violin might cause the apocalypse?

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880270)

I think Disaster Area was more into thermonuclear electric guitars.

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880622)

Oh dear... that means a violin might cause the apocalypse?

That would be an untuned string. Violins are safe.

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (1)

shabtai87 (1715592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881156)

If not, it would only be appropriate to have one playing during

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881300)

Stop violins in the streets!

Re:CREATING black holes isn't the issue... (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881036)

Quantum black holes are unstable.

Prove (in the scientific sense of "prove") that, and you'll become famous (possibly rich, too).

Because your proof would most likely have to involve unifying quantum mechanics and general relativity, or alternatively pretty novel physical experiment, results of which might be used by others to do the theoretical unification... In either case, fame and riches await!

This sound like the begining of a bad... (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30879990)

sci/fi movie.

Re:This sound like the begining of a bad... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880034)

or the end of a good one [wikipedia.org]

Re:This sound like the begining of a bad... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880114)

Ooh I saw that one! lol. No seriously, the Sci Fi channel made it. And I believe the cliche, cookie cutter military general tried to nuke it and when that didn't work, they used some sort of umm...let's just say magic to dissipate it cuz it was at least equally idiotic. Oh and if I'm not mistaken, the black hole contained some sort of extra terrestrial ghosts that started harrassing townspeople and destroying stuff. I wish I was making that up but seriously, that was an actual movie.

Re:This sound like the begining of a bad... (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880738)

I think the conclusion that we can draw from this is that we'll be safe as long as we keep all 30-something-playing-20-something peroxide blondes with bad implants away from the LHC.

Large Hardon Collider could corrupt civilisation (3, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880008)

The Large Hardon Collider [newstechnica.com] , to be turned on tomorrow, is designed to pump various types of hardon up to huge energies before banging them together. However, many concerned citizens without the personal experience or understanding of what hardons do worry at the idea of the large hardons being sucked deep into a black hole.

The device will push large, energised hardons through a ring repeatedly, faster and faster, as smoothly and tightly as possible, until they clash and spray matter in all directions. "It's nothing that cosmic rays don't do all the time all over the place," reassured a particularly buff scientist. "It's perfectly right and natural."

Low-energy hardon physics and the temperature dependence of hardon production are well understood, as is the process of a hardon smoothly entering the nucleus. But some question what may happen at greater, hotter energies.

Church leaders have come out at the device. "They're the same polarity!" said Pope Palpatine XVI. The Church worries that strange matter may recruit normal matter and turn it strange.

The Large Hardon Collider was to launch in May, but this has been delayed. "I'm so sorry," stammered a scientist, "this has never happened to us before."

Re:Large Hardon Collider could corrupt civilisatio (4, Funny)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880140)

Low-energy hardon physics and the temperature dependence of hardon production are well understood

Especially in the porn industry.

TO: Whom it may concern; (5, Funny)

budgenator (254554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880926)

I'm a pornographic film maker and I have just registered a screen-play with the USPTO [uspto.gov] and the US Copyright office [copyright.gov] for a creative work titled "The Large hardon Collider"depicting two white nude male actors running around a ring for the purpose of jousting with their abnormally large, erect penises. When the actor collides his penis with the opposing actor he is assigned a point for the collision, the first actor to achieve 5 points wins the privilege of engaging in the sex scene with a black actress. Any talk or writings involving "large hardon collider" or "large hardon collisions" with or without blackholes is a serious violation of my IP rights. My legal team is at this moment is preparing litigation against the more grievous violater one "Anonymous Coward".

Seriously if newstechnica.com habitually misspells the word hadron [web.cern.ch] , which is so fundemental to the topic of the article, how can anybody give them any credibility?

Re:TO: Whom it may concern; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881268)

If you have a look at the site, credibility seems to be the last thing News Technica cares about. Seems they're going for "funny" or "hilarious".

Yes (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880042)

This would explain why people from the future are trying to stop (not my idea), I do wonder "how stable is the black hole?" "could it fall thru to the center of the planet? Or evaporate after existing momentarily"

This sort of experimentation seems better suited in deep space than on the planet if the answer to #2 is yes.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880078)

My current moderation attempts are being hampered by the lack of a "-1 Incomprehensible" option.

Re:Yes (3, Informative)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880110)

a) a black hole created in a particle accelarator would evaporate too quickly to be dangerous
b) the energies that LHC is producing are a LOT smaller than the energies that a lot of cosmic rays have when they hit earth. it's a lot of energy for man, but not for nature, actually quite common. While you were reading this comment, a couple of particles with this energy PASSED THROUGHT YOU

c) don't panic

Re:Yes (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880152)

Didn't they say prior to this article that it wasn't even possible?

Re:Yes (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880638)

Well, They say a lot of things. You shouldn't worry too much about Them; They're rather an eclectic group.

Re:Yes (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880350)

Nope.
LHC creates holes with relative to earth speed~ 0, while in cosmic ray collisions the holes will have relative to earth speed ~= speed of light.
So if black holes are created on cosmic rays, these black holes will immediately leave earth, while in LHC the holes will stay here and grow...

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880470)

"while in LHC the holes will stay here and grow..."

Or disappear before they can interact with even a single atom.

Re:Yes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880848)

Are you aware that the particles in the LHC are moving at ~= the speed of light?

Re:Yes (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881438)

Are you aware that the particles in the LHC are moving at ~= the speed of light?

They do a regex match on the speed of light?

Re:Yes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881600)

The ~ is the important part. The collision needs to not be head-on by less than one part in a billion for the '~' not to imply escape velocity for something with proton mass. And this doesn't even depend on how you can't really produce a single non-interacting object from a p-p collision. So it wouldn't be at rest.

Second, there are things bigger than Earth (say, the Sun, or any other stars) which are being hit by a vastly larger number of cosmic rays. They are also thicker and denser -- for the vast rate of these interactions over their billion year history and the high target density after production, the black holes would have to be basically non-interacting for the Sun to exist. In which case there is no problem. Or they would have to not be produced. In which case there is still no problem.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880930)

a) a black hole created in a particle accelarator would evaporate too quickly to be dangerous

And even if it never evaporated, the speed at which it is going at would:
1) Throw it out the solar system entirely

2) throw it in to an orbit around Sol, doing no harm to anyone
3.1) fall to the center of Earth and be incapable of eating up any de
cent amounts of mass in the expected lifetime of the planet. OR
3.2) By the time a blackhole could do any damage to Earth, you can bet your ass we would already have the knowledge and technology to solve the problem.

Blackholes aren't anything special, they are just compressed stars. We know how it all works, all that matters at least. (the outside influence)
Any of those scientists who actually tried to stop it are an embarrassment to the whole of science.

Re:Yes (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881256)

The particles with this energy didn't pass through you, but some of the decay particles with far less energy might have.

Re:Yes (2, Funny)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880160)

"This would explain why people from the future are trying to stop "

No. The people from the future already know that it's impossible for LHC to create the black holes in question, as they have read this /. article.

Re:Yes (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880956)

They're not from the future OR the past. They're from the "other".

Re:Yes (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880348)

LOL you guys are brutal.

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881400)

Our best theories suggest that if (and it's a big if) a black hole forms, it will evaporate in an instant.

We KNOW that much more powerful collisions occur all the time from cosmic rays. We also know that none of them have destroyed the Earth.

That, in turn, means either such black holes don't form even at much higher energies than we are anywhere near able to produce, or that they decay rapidly just as we theorize, or for some other reason it's nowhere near as bad as we think it could be.

There is no credible theory to even suggest that an LHC produced black hole would be any more problem than those produced naturally by cosmic radiation over the last few billion years.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881484)

Do we really know that none of them have destroyed an earth?

What's your definition of possible (4, Funny)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880058)

A quintillion times higher than the LHC?

Might I suggest that we not use the word possible to mean "as likely as your car turning into a pig and flying away".

Thanks!

Re:What's your definition of possible (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880186)

Nice car analogy by the way.

Re:What's your definition of possible (5, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880240)

Perhaps a new unit of measurement to quantify possibility?
I nominate "the Bullshit."

We'd have to come up with some landmark positions to establish scale:

"When someone asks you how you're doing and you say "fine." That's 1 bullshit. They don't care.
When someone asks you about avatar and you say you saw it with your girlfriend, that's 10 bullshits, cause you post on slashdot.
When you say that 2010 will be the year of linux on the desktop, that's somewhere between 10^6 and 10^9 bullshits.

Re:What's your definition of possible (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880940)

Well, there's something reasonably similar already: the microLenat [catb.org] .

Re:What's your definition of possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881012)

The year of the Linux desktop will come the same way the year of the Darwin desktop came, and maybe to the same general result.

Re:What's your definition of possible (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881588)

I'm sorry, but this would be an inappropriate use of the word Bullshit. I am an avid reader of the most in-depth review of this word, On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt. In his thorough review, he lists and explains various uses for the word Bullshit and he has not used it as a scientific unit of measurement.

Frankly, I think your post is bullshit as is the +5 Funny. I believe you would understand my level of frustration with your post if I inappropriately labeled it as 10^200 bullshits. If you care to reply, please bear in mind that based my dissatisfaction with your response I may need to increase the bullshits exponentially.

Re:What's your definition of possible (1)

isny (681711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880426)

Dude, where's my car?

Re:What's your definition of possible (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880674)

Dude, where's my car

Dude, it's right there. Of course, now we don't know how fast it's going.

Re:What's your definition of possible (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881418)

It *was* right there...but then you had to go and observe it...

Re:What's your definition of possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880914)

NOT A MEASURE OF PROBABILITY.
It was a measure of the energy required to do it!

Learn to read!

Re:What's your definition of possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881108)

Maybe you should review the nuances of "possible", "plausible", and "probable."

Non-dangerous black holes. (1)

_GNU_ (81313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880104)

The Large Hadron Collider can definitely create microscopic black holes, the thing is that they are not dangerous as they would evaporate long before interacting with any matter.

Re:Non-dangerous black holes. (4, Funny)

the roAm (827323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880154)

I suppose you could say...it doesn't matter.

Re:Non-dangerous black holes. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880538)

That's not particularly funny, you know.

Re:Non-dangerous black holes. (1)

bromlad (1539917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880276)

Its funny, I would think you all would know theory never equals reality but I guess we will see if humans destroy the world in my life time or the next. Not like it matters anyway human history is nothing in the planetary scheme of things.

Re:Non-dangerous black holes. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881482)

If the LHC would create an earth-eating black hole, that certainly would not be nothing in the planetary scheme of things.

String theory testable? (4, Funny)

erik.martino (997000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880164)

This means that if the earth collapses to a black hole, the extra dimensions exists. This is an incredible result that will most certainly boost confidence in string theory.

The black holes are not dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880184)

If the LHC does make a black hole, what will be the mass of it? It will only have the mass of the few particles that collided to create it. It's mass will be tiny. It will be like a grain of sand. Now, what is the gravitational attraction force caused by a grain of sand? If you've ever been near a grain of sand, you know that it's basicly none. So, this black hole won't actually have any ability to suck in matter. It will fall into the center of the earth and stay there until it evaporates.

Re:The black holes are not dangerous (3, Informative)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880266)

The mass will be the rest mass of both colliding particles + the kinetic energy they both have (a couple of TeV).
It won't even have the energy of a grain of salt. It will have the energy of about 1 helium atom.

well duh... (3, Insightful)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880214)

basically what the TFA is saying is that if you put a lot of energy in a very small spot, you get a black hole...

in other words:

E=mc
+
high mass density = black hole

Nothing to see here, move along

PS: IAAP

Proved conclusively? (4, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880246)

I don't see how you can prove something conclusively in silico, you put in what you know and you get a distillation of it out. How can you discover* completely new physics when the computer can only start with a potentially incorrect/inaccurate theory and make deterministic calculations based on that input? I mean, you can't get out more than you put in, can you?

Caveat: I can easily accept that collisions of the same energy take place all the time in nature, even if a hole were somehow formed I have far more confidence in Hawking than someone who can scream "Think of the Children!!!" while keeping a straight face.

*There's no reason why you can't put in your theory and come out with a simulation that doesn't resemble how things happen in nature and so begin to disprove a theory. That being said, if CERN could have shown the existence of the Higgs boson using only simulations then they might not have bothered with the LHC.

Re:Proved conclusively? (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880548)

Complex theories often make many complex predictions. If we have a theory that particles and gravity and such behave as described by this set of equations, it isn't necessarily trivial to answer questions like "Is there some set of initial conditions that will produce a state some time later with these properties?" You have to work out how the question should phrased in precise mathematical terms, and then do a lot of math to get an answer. This is properly viewed as something in between a mathematical discovery and a physical one: like discovering a proof of a previously unproven hypothesis in math, the axioms (particle behavior equations) already defined the answer, we just didn't know it yet. Of course, it's based on highly specific models and may have little general applicability, unlike most theorems in mathematics that are based on a fairly simple set of axioms.

Re:Proved conclusively? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881226)

> How can you discover* completely new physics when the computer can only
> start with a potentially incorrect/inaccurate theory and make deterministic
> calculations based on that input?

What "completely new physics"? This is a prediction of the standard model. The calculations had been done before but only by making some pretty large assumptions in order to simplify the math. These guys worked it out much more rigorously and showed that the prediction still stands.

The rise of ignorance... (5, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880272)

It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school science class (or their schools 'science' class hadn't gone past basic atomic structure) are utterly afraid of crackpot doomsday predictions about something scientific that they don't even have the faintest inkling of comprehension of, while all the experts in that field aren't afraid or worried in the slightest.
(Now there's a run-on sentence.)
Of course those scientist don't say it's impossible, though my understanding is that it's probability of destroying the earth is a bit less than that of a winged monkey to fly out your ass leading a miniature brass band.

Funny thing about all those colossal energies involved, on the cosmic scale, they don't even qualify as peanut crumbs. If they do produce a black hole (of the extremely miniature variety), it's lifespan will be horrendously short, it's event horizon freaking minuscule, and at that scale the distance to the nearest thing to gobble (assuming it can actually suck it in) is the equivalent of light years away. It's just not going to be a threat. If something that like that could be created by these cosmically insignificant energy levels and actually survive long enough to eat planets, the universe would already be pretty darn empty. There are an uncountable number of energy events that far exceed the LHCs energy levels around us constantly, and if you want the really big ones, just point your telescope pretty much anywhere in space and you'll be pointing at several. If that kind of stuff has been going on for billions of years, and we haven't gone poof yet, you're better off buying a flying monkey proof undies than worrying about calling the LHC the 5th horseman.

Re:The rise of ignorance... (1, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880602)

it's lifespan [...] it's event horizon

"it's" is a contraction of "it is", not a possessive.

Sorry, you were saying something funny about high school education?

Re:The rise of ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880854)

"it's" is a contraction of "it is", not a possessive.

It is customary in the English language to capitalize the first word of a sentence.

Re:The rise of ignorance... (-1, Offtopic)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880910)

it's lifespan [...] it's event horizon

"it's" is a contraction of "it is", not a possessive.

Sorry, you were saying something funny about high school education?

One "Carl", several "Carls"; and it's "Carl's" possession.
One "it", several "its"; and it's "it's" possession.

"It's" is both possessive and a contraction.

Re:The rise of ignorance... (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881002)

So then is it correctly "hi's" bicycle?

And what about the women? Would it be "he'r"?

"Its" is both a plural (an irregular plural at that; correctly it's "them" [bring forth the giant ants]) and a possessive; "it's" is just a contraction of "it is".

Re:The rise of ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881066)

dude, i think teacher farted

Re:The rise of ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880694)

I think I've seen one of those winged monkeys (with a miniature brass band)...

Re:The rise of ignorance... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881408)

"It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school science class "

Why bother with science when superstition answers all?

Re:The rise of ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881552)

It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school science class (or their schools 'science' class hadn't gone past basic atomic structure) are utterly afraid of crackpot doomsday predictions about something scientific that they don't even have the faintest inkling of comprehension

It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school biology class believe a doctor when he says to take an antibiotic.
It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school geology class believe the Earth is composed of large slowly moving plates.
It's amazing how so many people who never passed a high school astronomy class who believe the Sun is really eight light minutes away.

People believe the word of experts. You have to, as there is simply no way one can study and be in a position of authority on every subject. When it comes to the public that experts disagree (or at least someone posing as an authority), well it is only natural for people to assume the worst (Fox News style) unless something new comes along.

Re:The rise of ignorance... (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881570)

Wouldn't there need to be enough mass present to create a gravity well strong enough to draw in sustenance for the black hole? So that even if you create an itty bitty one it will just evaporate due to starvation and the effects of other gravitational and molecular forces...

I could almost certainly misunderstand, but I am curious about these subjects. :)

Please remember (4, Interesting)

diewlasing (1126425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880322)

While this very well could be true, I'd just like to point out that a computer simulation is no substitute for an actual experiment.

Also, while I'm no expert in the subject of string theory, if one could reach the Plank energy, wouldn't it then be possible to find these supposed strings about which everyone's been talking?

Re:Please remember (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880462)

Mod parent up. Just because a (possibly improperly tuned) computer model say something happens doesn't "conclusively" show anything.

Re:Please remember (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880610)

Actual computer simulation [youtube.com] FUUUUUUCKKKKK!!!!!!!!11111!!!!

Re:Please remember (4, Insightful)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880750)

The funny thing is some people will point to this model and say, "OMG SEE EVIDENCE OF TEH BLACKHOLEZ OF DOOM!!!" While in the same sentence say, "Models of Global Warming are just MODELS, made up COMPUTER SIMULATIONZ!!!"

Re:Please remember (5, Insightful)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881376)

This can be explained very simply.

Shutting down the LHC will not inconvenience these people in the least.
Telling them not to use their SUV to drive to the corner store all the time, or to use it for a one person long distance commute to work will inconvenience them.

Re:Please remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880966)

And perhaps one should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember that the computer model only predicts what might happen given a whole string of assumptions.

Given enough programming skill I can make a computer model predict anything I want. That won't make it a reality though.

Wow, a computer model says so? Really? (4, Insightful)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880340)

Because I have several computer models that predict what I should trade to become fabulously wealthy. Excellent!

Re:Wow, a computer model says so? Really? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880934)

For the record, those financial models were perfectly accurate. The data fed into them, however, was stupidly naive and optimistic, which isn't surprising, as the users of the models tweaked the data to get the results they wanted.

Or: Why you should blame the carpenter, not the hammer.

2012 anyone? (1)

Salem Willow (1394195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880346)

my bet is on 2012... that's the year when we prove string theory and compact extra dimensions as well as finding out what REALLY happens when you get sucked into a black hole... let's see it as an opportunity rather than an apocalypse.

The Big Mistake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880358)

I though the Big Mistake was supposed to happen in Kiev!

Regardless, I've already seen how this plays out, and I think it ends up with people impaled on a big metal tree.

the infinity irony (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880376)

Here is the irony to me. Einstein won his noble prize for the Photoelectric effect. This effect has traditionally been see as on that requires the quantization of energy for sub atomic particles. This was 1905. This was based on idea of Max Planck in which he limited the available oscillations of light to solve the ultraviolet catastrophe, a mathematical result in which the unrestricted energy of a black body radiator would result in infinite energies. This did not any sense.

But someone, Einstein's other work, general relativity, that does result in infinities is assumed to be true. I was thinking we would have this fixed by now, and 2001-2010 would be as productive as 1901-1910. Perhaps the year 2000 was the beginning of a little dark age,and will have to wait a while for science to restart.

Re:the infinity irony (2, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881152)

This did not any sense.

Which is why he accidentally the entire nobel prize.

Experimental curiosity, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30880402)

How about we just get the thing running, make some observations, and see where it goes? Whatever happened to simple scientific curiosity, where scientists were allowed to make modifications to the setup and explore new and interesting regimes of energy, mass, and velocity in order to see what can be found? Why are we so obsessed with all of these competing theories, which are confirmed by reality rather than controlling it?

gazillion? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880432)

I wonder whether a quintillion is bigger or smaller than a gazillion?

Re:gazillion? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880714)

Assuming the short scale, a quintillion is 10^18.

How that people write? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880672)

If they are scared by the odds of creating a black hole in the LHC, then should be hidden and trembling below their beds as are far more probable ways to end the earth, the human civilization or their own lives in any minute than the black hole one. Is almost as possible as creating red matter [memory-alpha.org] , with the same attributes than in the movie.

Read the TFA (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880784)

We always knew that it was likely possible that particle collisions could create black holes. The physicists who said this wouldn't happen at the LHC agreed that that was likely possible. The key is that people with their heads screwed on straight understood that this was vanishingly unlikely for particles in the LHC. All this result shows is that it confirms that there is in fact an energy level where one can create black holes via particle collision, which everyone believed already. Indeed, if it turned out not to be the case it would mean that a lot of our understanding of physics might end up being seriously squirrely. The headline and summary are thus highly misleading.

Ignorance, plain and simple (2, Informative)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880860)

The Luddites that believe the LHC is going to destroy the Earth are really starting to get on my nerves. It is obvious even with a simplistic high-school level of understanding that any black holes formed by the LHC (if such a thing is even possible) are completely harmless. If we were to collide two protons with enough energy to produce a black hole, you would end up with (very temporarily) a black hole that has the mass (and thus gravitational pull) of two protons, with an electric charge of +2.

Let's take a look at a Helium atom. Helium nuclei are (usually) composed of two protons and two neutrons, thus they have roughly twice as much mass (and gravitational pull) as our aforementioned black hole. This nucleus also carries an electric charge of +2. That means that Helium nuclei exert more attractive force on their surroundings than the worst-case scenario black hole that can be produced by the LHC.

In the most extreme case, the closest that one of these miniature black holes would get to sucking in the matter around them would be to capture an electron or two into orbit around them in the same way as a Helium nuclei would, before the black hole evaporates. That would be quite an exciting, interesting, and completely harmless development.

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (4, Informative)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880996)

If we were to collide two protons with enough energy to produce a black hole, you would end up with (very temporarily) a black hole that has the mass (and thus gravitational pull) of two protons, with an electric charge of +2.
 

Not true, or at least not the way you mean. Each of the protons going into the collision carries its rest mass, but also the extra mass due to the fact it's moving at almost light-speed. In the case of the LHC this is about 10000 times greater, so you end up with a black hole with the mass of roughly 20002 protons (and, indeed charge +2).

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881492)

Not true either. At the energies the LHC will collide, not the protons collide, but the constituent quarks and gluons. In fact, when producing very massive objects, it will be the quarks constituting the proton, the so-called valence quarks, that interact; gluons and the so-called sea-quarks are extremely unlikely to reach those energies. So you would end up with some fractional charge. A detail, maybe, but as an LHC physicist, I like things correct :-).
The comparison to the helium atom is wrong too: helium ions, stripped of their electrons, exert quite an electrical pull on their surroundings. But usually they very quickly recombine into neutral helium atoms. Or they have to be accelerated such that their kinetic energy is to large to form a stable atom.
Finally, the comment about the mass of the moving proton is plain wrong too. The only thing that matters to calculate the gravitational pull of the created object is it's rest mass. The relativistic mass that is being referred depends on the frame of reference (and is therefore an uninteresting quantity we never really work with). Imagine the force being dependent on the frame of reference...
That all being said, I agree the whole apocalyptic story is plain stupid, but as scientists we cannot afford using wrong arguments. And we need better PR maybe, because a 1/quintillion (or whatever probability limit set) is maybe not zero, but should be rounded down as such for public dissemination.

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (2, Insightful)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881628)

I take your point about the quarks. The point about mass though is that there is a privileged frame in this context, namely the rest frame of the eventual black hole. If you are in some other frame you will see a HIGHER mass, since you will see a moving black hole at the end of the day. Another way of seeing it is that the energy put into accelerating the protons ends up in the rest mass of the black hole.

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880998)

Yea tell that to the innocent and unsuspecting electron. What did it ever do to you!

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881054)

Actually, the extreme case if Hawking is right is that there's at least one baryon with non-up/down quarks close enough for the black hole to absorb, which jumps its mass up by a factor of about 30 at a minimum.

The worst-case scenario is obviously "Hawking was wrong, and black holes don't evaporate", which means there was something else suppressing the production of quantum-scale black holes in the past. (Even in this scenario, we have a few million years before things become problematic, I think.)

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881120)

> Even in this scenario, we have a few million years before things become
> problematic, I think.

Closer to a quintillion years, I suspect.

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881106)

After all scientific theory is not really theory. It is scientific fact. And the problem that many theories over a period of time have proven false should not deter us from believing that this time we have it just right.

An yea, look at the perfect record of these people. After all no pigs were vaporized in being too close to an atom bomb explosion. And there have been no radiation deaths in the soldiers that were participating in the atom bomb experiments.

OH DAMN!!!!!! THERE WERE HUG MISTAKES. But thankfully that will never happen again. After all, this string theory has (OH DAMN, EVEN THE MATH CAN'T BE SHOWN TO BE RIGHT!!!!

Re:Ignorance, plain and simple (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881264)

You are forgetting two things, though:

1) The difference in kinetic energy before and after the collision. If the kinetic energy after the collision is lower, there must be more mass (recall that mass is energy) to compensate. Hence, you may end up with more particles than you started with.

2) Particles do not necessarily survive a collision. Therefore, you may end up with different particles than you started with. These may have resting masses lower than two proton masses if the kinetic energy is higher.

In short, should you create a black hole, it could have a mass of more than two proton masses, or less.

Walking the Planck (1)

xactuary (746078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30880976)

" the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes"

Meanwhile, I hear they're planning a Very Tiny Hadron Collider that may create very large black holes.

Self-contradictions (4, Insightful)

Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881162)

Gee, what's wrong with this sentence:

      Now a computer model shows conclusively...

I'm sure the research modeling is interesting and worthwhile, and it's just the writeup that is idiotic. But y'know *computer* models do not ever show anything *conclusively*. The model is only as good as the assumptions that went into designing it. Those might be good and reasonable guesses, but you are only doing the model because you *haven't* (or can't) observe the actual phenomenon.

This topic again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30881252)

Seems that nothing quite draws in the crowds like a black hole!

Is a mini-black-hole always a mini-black-hole? (2)

budgenator (254554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30881458)

Correct me if I'm wrong as I'm not a high energy particle physicist, a particle's energy/mass would only exists at it's maximum along it's axis of velocity, m = mrest/ sqrt(1-v^2/c^2) and v is varied by the cosine of the angle of approach or the radial velocity therefore it is likely that a relativistic particle could have some collisions that would satisfied the conditions for a black-hole and some that did not simultaneously. We generally view a blackhole event horizon as a psychologically comfortable sphere, yet a relativistic blackholes event horizon would be shaped like an hour-glass.

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